In terms of age, survey respondents between the ages of 18-34 are generally more likely to own smartphones than respondents ages 50 and up. What’s interesting is that in certain countries with more advanced economies are showing high growth rates in smartphone ownership in the 50+ age group, such as Israel where their survey showed only 50% of adults owned a smartphone in 2015 compared to 80% in 2018.
Smartphone ownership in older members of the community has generally shown a better growth rate compared to those in the 18-34 age group, and we can expect this trend to be even more noticeable especially because several healthcare technologies are now available on smartphones, such as health tracking apps, prescription refill services, and even virtual doctor’s consultations.
Particularly now during the COVID-19 pandemic, several tech companies such as Q Services have been developing systems that help people centralise and authenticate test results and medical certificates for travel purposes, and even for entrance into certain facilities around the world. Systems like these allow users to have their authenticated test result on hand anywhere they go, right on their smartphones.
Other factors that have been observed to affect smartphone ownership rates are education rates and income levels, with higher-educated and higher-income individuals being more likely to own a smartphone. This is shown in the example of Nigeria where the gap of smartphone ownership between citizens with secondary level or higher education and those with less is 48% (58 and 10%, respectively).
While only a portion of the global population is reaping the benefits of owning a smartphone, it’s not necessarily true that everyone must own one to survive in today’s day and age. A popular argument from advocates for equality is for equality in opportunity instead of results, where individuals from all walks of life can have the ability to pursue their hearts’ desires in various aspects of life, whether in lifestyle, education, industry, or even access to technology.
The unfortunate prevalence of this kind of inequality is exemplified in the situation of India, where gender still plays a major role in whether or not people have access to smartphone technology. Men in the country today are 19% more likely to own smartphones today than women (34 versus 15%, respectively) as compared to five years ago when the gap was a mere 9% (16% compared to 7%).
In the end though, we are all equal when it comes to our progression through time and space on this vehicle that those before us have named Earth. Let’s always remind ourselves of this fact, and strive towards true equality as a species, together.