While family Zoom calls, home working and online shopping became a larger part of the country’s day-to-day lives, 11.7% of over-16s surveyed by the Office for National Statistics between January and March last year had not been online in the previous three months.
That was higher than the national average – where around 7.8% of adults did not regularly use the internet – and meant an estimated 27,000 people in Hartlepool were not regular internet users.
Nationally, around 3.4 million people said last year that they had never used the web – more than 60% of them aged 75 and over.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the two million over-75s still offline are at risk of being excluded from an "increasingly digital world".
She said: "All older people should have the support and encouragement to get online if they want to but it’s essential that those who are offline, for whatever reason, should still be able to access services and support.
“Our research suggests a lack of digital skills and confidence is a barrier that prevents many over-75s getting online."
At 88.3%, internet usage in Hartlepool has risen from 82% since 2011, the earliest year for which figures are available.
Different ONS data shows 89% of adults used the internet daily or nearly every day in 2020 – up from 35% in 2006.
Internet banking, sending and receiving emails and finding information about goods and services are the most common reasons for internet use.