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States With the Most Tech-Savvy Seniors

Discover where older adults are most likely to use technology in their daily lives. Seniorly shares the best - and worst - on the intersection of technology and aging in this 2023 report.

By Sushanth Ramakrishna Updated on Jul 5, 2023
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You’ve heard about iPad kids – but what about iPad grandparents? The days of older adults struggling to work the TV remote are long gone, as America’s seniors lean into the digital world and shed their reputation as the country’s most reluctant adopters of new tech.

Record numbers of seniors are seeing the benefits of tech in their everyday lives. National data shows that compared with just four years ago, seniors are more likely than ever to use social media, stream movies and TV shows, take online classes, and even work remotely, while they’re spending hundreds of dollars on wearable and smart devices. Given the aging global population and the speed of technological advances, the United Nations even called for the prioritization of digital tools that are tailored to meet older people’s needs.

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Technology is so critical for older adults because it can help them maintain their independence and manage their health as they age. As the covid pandemic made clear, video-chatting and other digital communication ensures that seniors stay connected with family and friends from afar, helping to combat social isolation. On the other hand, not knowing when to log off can also be a problem – and older adults are spending nearly 10 hours per day in front of a screen. Ultimately, it’s all about balance.

Not all seniors are fully on board with technology, though. Older adults are more likely to view tech in a positive light since the pandemic, but many still lack confidence or aren’t quite sure how to use their own devices, an AARP survey found. Those challenges can be even tougher for homebound seniors, 15% of whom still lack access to technology at home.

And while seniors are becoming more tech-savvy, so too are the industries that support them. As Marlena del Hierro, gerontologist and Vice President of Partnerships for Seniorly shares “the senior living industry as a whole has really leaned into using technology to drive resident engagement. It's so exciting to see what a difference it can make for some older adults.” Assisted living communities in tech-forward areas are leveraging Alexa for communication and engagement programming , or even using VR to simulate travel experiences. 

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To determine where America's most tech-savvy seniors live, we analyzed federal data across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., measuring factors like internet and computer access, work-from-home flexibility, telehealth use and personal spending on tech devices relative to the local older population.

Here’s what we found:

  • Washington, D.C., has the most tech-savvy seniors, followed by California and Utah. Meanwhile, West Virginia came in last, with Mississippi and North Dakota rounding out the bottom three states for technology use among older adults.
  • Americans spend hundreds of dollars on tech devices relative to their states’ older populations, with those in Washington, D.C. ($703), Utah ($603), Texas ($539) and Nevada ($513) spending the most.
  • Mississippi is the only state where fewer than 3 in 4 seniors have an internet connection at home, likely contributing to its below-average share of older employees who work remotely (7.2%) and used telehealth during the pandemic’s first year (37%).

The national picture:

The pandemic was a turning point for older adults and tech adoption, given millions of Americans were stuck at home or separated from loved ones. The share of seniors who use a smartphone, for example, rose from 57.6% in 2019 to 65.6% in 2021 – the highest rate ever recorded, federal data shows. The share who use a smart TV jumped too, from 23.3% to 32.8%. Meanwhile, “wearable devices” like fitness trackers, AI hearing aids or smart clothing are a growing trend among seniors. While just 10.8% used them in 2021, that’s more than double the rate four years earlier.

Spending on personal tech is way up, too: In 2021, Americans spent an average of $379 on tech devices relative to the older population, our analysis of federal data shows. And spending appears even higher among older adults in particular, with Americans age 50+ expecting to spend an average of $912 on tech purchases this year, a jump from $821 in 2021, according to the AARP.

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Bridging the digital divide among seniors is about more than just flashing the latest gadgets. It can also help ensure they get needed health care. About 2 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries – more than 28 million people – used telehealth between March 2020 and February 2021, a major uptick from the pre-pandemic era, according to federal health data. They were more likely to see a doctor virtually if they lived in an urban area, at 45%, than in a rural area, at 33%.

And the use of tech tools might even help older adults who aren’t quite ready to retire stay in the workforce longer. Overall, 1 in 5 working adults 60+ work from home, Census data shows, and a 2021 survey found that Baby Boomers were more likely than any other generation to want to keep working remotely after the pandemic. 

Tech tools can also help the 77% of older adults who want to age in place.  Arthur Bretschneider, CEO of Seniorly notes “we see older adults able to age more safely and comfortably in their homes thanks to assistive technology”.

Best and worst states:

Our analysis found that Washington, D.C., has the country’s most tech-savvy seniors, given 36% of workers ages 60 and up work from home, local consumers spent an average of $703 on tech for every older person in the district, and just 9.1% of adults 65+ lack a computer at home.

California, Utah, Arizona and Washington round out the top five tech-savviest states. More than half of California’s Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth in the pandemic’s first year, while 87.6% of older adults have an internet subscription.

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Most of the 10 leading states were on either U.S. coast, perhaps reflecting the overall availability of services there. There didn’t seem to be much of a relationship between seniors’ tech-savviness and the share of older people living in a state, given adults 65+ make up just 11.6% of No. 3 Utah’s population and a full 21.1% of No. 7 Florida’s.

On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia ranked as the country’s least tech-savvy state for seniors, followed by Mississippi, North Dakota, Louisiana and Arkansas. Each of these states has a 65+ population of at least 16%, roughly on par with the U.S. share overall. Older adults in these states are also less likely to use telehealth, work remotely or have a computer at home.

Key statistics in every state and D.C.

StateDoes Not Own ComputerInternet SubscriptionWorks Remotely Uses TelehealthSpending on Tech Devices 
New Hampshire7.0%87.4%19.2%44%$399
New Jersey9.4%85.1%20.6%50%$304
Rhode Island10.8%83.2%17.5%47%$452
New York11.0%82.6%18.9%47%$353
New Mexico11.4%78.2%21.4%46%$415
North Carolina11.7%80.6%18.4%41%$367
South Carolina10.5%81.3%13.7%36%$420
South Dakota11.9%79.3%14.9%27%$185
North Dakota12.4%79.1%8.7%21%$233
West Virginia17.7%75.0%10.6%35%$83


Seniors may be increasingly integrating technology into their daily lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re fully on board across the United States. Knowing where older adults are quick to pick up tech and where they’re struggling can help families understand the kind of local resources that are available and the challenges that remain to bridging the generational digital divide.


We used the most recent federal data for five metrics to determine where America’s most tech-savvy seniors live. We used a Z-score distribution to scale each metric relative to the mean across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and capped outliers at 3. For the metric tracking the share of older adults without a computer at home, we multiplied scores by -1 given a higher score was negatively associated with being above the national average. A state’s overall ranking was calculated using its average Z-score across the five metrics. Here’s a closer look at the metrics we used:

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Works consulted:

  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "Characteristics of Homebound Older Adults ." Apr 6, 2021.
  • AARP. "2023 Tech Trends: No End in Sight for Age 50+ Market Growth." Jan 1, 2023.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services . "Certain Medicare Beneficiaries, Such as Urban and Hispanic Beneficiaries, Were More Likely Than Others To Use Telehealth ." Sep 1, 2022.
  • AARP. "Many Older Adults Want to Continue Working Remotely." Nov 18, 2021.
  • AARP. "Tech Usage Among Older Adults Skyrockets During Pandemic." Apr 21, 2021.
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    written by:
    Sushanth Ramakrishna

    Sushanth Ramakrishna is Chief Product Office and Co-Founder of Seniorly. As a an alumnus of Haas School of Business, Sushanth leads the Product function at Seniorly by combining engineering talent with deep knowledge of human behavior.

    To learn more about Seniorly's editorial guidelines, click here.

    View other articles written by Sushanth

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