Digital Literacy of Russians Is Increasing

29 March 2019

NAFI Analytical Center presents the results of the second wave of the research project “Digital Literacy for the Economy of the Future”.

Level of digital literacy among Russians increased by 8 percentage points and reached 60 percentage points (out of 100 p.p.) over the past year. Russians have become more competent in searching for information and analysis of data, more confident in using of digital devices. More Russians began to use modern means of communication, such as instant messenger applications and social networks.

45% of Russians have a high level of digital literacy today. A quarter of the adult population, 28 million Russians, at the same time has a low level of digital literacy. The main barriers for Russians are weak interest in technological innovations and a low level of knowledge of digital devices. Previous research by NAFI has shown that Russians understand the importance of knowledge and skills in technological sphere. 52% of workers actively use digital technologies in their daily work activities, one third of respondents suppose that they will lose their jobs if they will not improve their knowledge in the field of digital technologies.

The assessment was made according to the methodology proposed at the G20 summit. Digital literacy is a basic set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable a person to effectively solve everyday tasks in the digital environment. 

Digital Literacy Index and Its Components

Digital literacy is measured as an index consisting of five components (sub-indexes): information literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, communicative literacy, and attitudes toward technological innovation. 

  1. Information literacy is an ability to find necessary data on the network, to compare several sources of information for making a decision, and to determine benefit or harm of certain messages. In 2018 the information literacy sub-index increased up to 66 p.p.(from 54 p.p.).
  2. A person who has good computer literacy competences knows technical components of a computer, easily handle with different devices regardless of a platform, understands possibilities and purposes of using gadgets. Russians began to use digital devices more confidently over the year: the computer literacy sub-index grew from 46 p.p. up to 55 p.p.
  3. Media literacy let a person use the media space, search for the necessary news, assuming that the information in the media can be incomplete or inaccurate. The level of media literacy increased from 65 p.p. in 2017 up to 67 p.p. in 2018.
  4. Communicative literacy means the ability to express your opinion on the network in an appropriate way, to analyze the position of the interlocutor, to use digital communication channels (instant messengers and social networks). The growth of this indicator in 2018 was the most significant in comparison with 2017 (59 p.p. vs. 46 p.p.).
  5. Attitude to Technological Innovations is a sub-index that demonstrates knowledge of current trends in technology, skills in using of gadgets and applications, as well as understanding of benefits of technological innovations. The sub-index increased by 4 percentage points in 2018 and reached 51 p.p., but its value remains the lowest among all the components of the Digital Literacy Index.

Socio-demographic differences

The level of digital literacy differs between many socio-demographic groups. It has the highest value among young people aged 18–24 years (82 p.p.), residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg (78 p.p.), and employed Russians (67 p.p.).

Digital literacy is significantly lower among older Russians (34 p.p.). Computer literacy and attitudes to technological innovation show the worst results in comparison with the young ones.

The digital literacy level is higher in big cities. All sub-indexes of digital literacy index of residents of Russian capitals are higher by 25-30 p.p. than indicators of residents of small towns and villages. 

There are gender differences in the level of digital literacy: the index for men is equal to 62 percentage points, for women this meaning is 58 percentage points. Women show worse results in terms of attitudes toward technological innovation. The lag between other indicators is less significant. 

Timur Aimaletdinov, Deputy CEO:

Digital literacy is an essential condition for the development of the digital economy. However, one this factor is not enough for economic growth. The next step is the development of digital competencies, professional knowledge and skills that meet modern requirements for labor productivity. Development of digital competencies of working population is the key condition to improve the level and quality of life in the era of digital economic transformations. 

Digital Literacy Index, p.p.

November 2017 December2018
Digital Literacy Index 52 60
Information Literacy 54 66
Computer literacy 46 55
Media Literacy 65 67
Communicative Literacy 46 59
Attitude towards technological innovation 47 51


* The second wave of a representative Russian digital literacy survey conducted by NAFI in December 2018. More than 1600 people were surveyed in 140 locations in 42 regions of Russia. Age: 18 years and older. The method of data collection is personal formalized interviews. The statistical error does not exceed 3.4%. The first wave of research was conducted in November 2017 using the same methodology.

* Press release of NAFI and ANO Digital Economy on March 1, 2019: “Half of Russian wants to improve their knowledge and skills in the field of information technologies”.

** In 2017, at the G20 Summit, a group of experts proposed an approach for assessment of digital literacy based on a system of indicators: information, computer, communication literacy, and media literacy and attitudes toward technological innovation (K. Chetty, Q. Liu, L. Wenwei. Bridging the Digital Divide: Measuring Digital Literacy, 2017).
Type of publication: Poll results

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