Communication Habits by Demographics: Age



Young Adults (15-24) in Pakistan seem to enjoy more socio-economic advantages and this gives them more access to media and communications technologies.

Younger Pakistani adults surveyed (those 15-24) were more likely than their elders to report a higher level of education and to say they understand English (one of the two national languages – language of the government as well as the language of business, commerce and upward social mobility) and/or Urdu (the other national language recognized by the Pakistani constitution, also a lingua franca bringing together a multilingual, multicultural country). See more about linguistic diversity and languages in Pakistan here. These factors- education and language better equip them to have better media and communication access and use. Both English and Urdu play an important role in communication and information exchange. Knowlede of English (generally related to higher education levels in Pakistan) also correlate with better opportunities, higher socio-economic status and technical skills needed for using new media. Urdu, which is the national language as enshrined in the constitution is also the major broadcast language for most radio and television outlets. Major national dailies also publish in English or Urdu.

Youth are more likely than other age groups to have obtained a secondary education. Prevalence of illiteracy increases with age. Nevertheless, a post-secondary education is still not commonplace among respondents of all age groups. (See how education and socio-economic status’ impact on media and communication use).

Media/ICT Access Differs Little by Age

Since income shows very little deviation wih age, access trends for media and ICT devices across age groups remain roughly steady (click here to see overall access levels for media and ICT for Pakistanis).

Media Use

Chart 1

Access to nearly all media (television, radio, print and internet) show a slight negative correlation with age- use decreases as age increases (Chart 2).

Younger Pakistanis, who are likely more new-media savvy, are also more likely to listen to radio on a mobile phone. Older Pakistanis on the other hand are more than 20 percentage points more likely to listen to the radio at home than their younger counterparts (see chart 3).

Chart 2

In addition, use of mobile phones for news (via SMS news updates, radio programs or live TV) is mainly restricted to Pakistanis under 35, and only about four percent of those with mobile phones said they do these activities.

In terms of topic of interest on radio, those younger than 35 show less interest in news and political issues compared to the two older age groups. Those 15-24 are more likely than other age groups to be interested in sports and music (see Table 1 which shows differing interests between age groups highlighted in black). Interest in religious programs on the radio increases with age.

Table 1

BBC Pakistan, survey of urban adults (15) +, n = 1172 weekly radio listeners

Internet use remains limited to younger Pakistanis, especially those with higher levels of education and those who live in urban areas. .

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