Identifying and understanding digital exclusion: A mixed-methods study

Gemma Wilson-Menzfeld*, Goran Erfani, Lesley Young-Murphy, W. Charlton, Holly De Luca, Katie Brittain, Alison Steven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many of our transactions and interactions are now exclusively online; however, whilst we live in a world which is becoming ubiquitously digital, digital exclusion remains a complex societal issue. This study aimed to identify the scale and characteristics of ‘digitally excluded’ individuals in one borough in North East England and investigate factors influencing experiences of digital exclusion. A two-phase, sequential explanatory mixed-methods design was used. Phase One utilised a survey which was sent to every household in the borough (N = >98,000). The surveys (N = 9181) were analysed using exploratory univariate analysis, followed by a two-staged regression model. Of those responses, 1130 individuals (12.3%) were identified as digitally excluded. Older adults with disability, no or low-level education, and residing in specific (micro) geographical areas, were at higher risk of digital exclusion. Smaller household sizes and lower income also contributed to digitally exclusion. To further enhance inclusivity, three focus groups were conducted with groups who were identified as being at higher risk of digital exclusion (N = 10). Discussions highlighted the complexities of digital exclusion and digital use across communities and within individual circumstances. Digital exclusion is multi-factored and complex. It requires regional institutions and local communities to collaborate in an integrated governance framework to improve digital inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Early online date25 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2024

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