Based on the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), the study provides an overview of the distribution of digital literacy in Germany up to the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Already in childhood and adolescence, there are systematic differences in digital literacy depending on socio-economic background. Children with a migration background and those with unemployed parents show particularly low digital literacy. Gender-specific differences in digital literacy are small in childhood and adolescence, but clearly pronounced among adults. In addition, people with little formal education and people with a migration background have systematically lower digital competences in adulthood. The education sector should therefore promote the digital competences of children and young people at an early stage in order to compensate for the apparently low level of competence development outside the formal education sector. Educational opportunities for digitally less competent adults should also be strengthened to enable older generations to continue to participate in the changing spheres of life, education, and work.