Almost Half the World is Now Online

August 16, 2017

Some 48% of individuals the world over use the internet, meaning that internet use has more than doubled over the past decade. That’s according to the latest annual report [pdf] from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which also notes that a majority (53.6%) of households around the world now have access to the internet at home.

In developed countries, 81% of individuals use the internet and 84.4% of households have access to the internet at home. Those proportions are roughly halved when looking at developing nations, in which 41.3% of individuals use the internet and 42.9% of households have access at home.

Youth Drive Internet Adoption

Not too surprisingly, it’s youth who are the forefront of internet usage: this year, the ITU estimates that 70.6% of 15-24-year-olds worldwide are online.

Internet usage by 15-24-year-olds in developing countries is almost ubiquitous, at 94%. Two-thirds of youth in developing countries are also online.

The youth audience online is highly concentrated in China and India, which together combine for 39% of the 15-24-year-old online population.

Overall, 15-24-year-olds represent almost one-quarter (23.4%) of all internet users worldwide, versus less than one-sixth (15.9%) of the global population.

That disparity is particularly acute in Africa, where youth comprise 37.3% of all internet users, almost twice their share of the population (20.1%).

Gender Gap Remains

Around the world, a greater proportion of men (50.9%) than women (44.9%) use the internet, per the report.

The gender gap is true across all regions with the exception of the Americas, where a slightly greater share of women (66.7%) than men (65.1%) are internet users.

While the gap has narrowed in developed countries, it has widened in the least-developed countries (LDCs).

Other Results:

Other highlights from the ITU report follow:

  • Close to half (47.6%) of the world’s households own a computer, including 82.4% of households in developed countries;
  • The number of cell phone subscriptions now stands at 103.5 per 100 inhabitants, compared to just 13 per 100 for fixed telephone subscriptions (see landline’s decline in the US here);
  • The number of mobile broadband subscriptions has grown by more than 20% per annum over the last 5 years, reaching more than 56 per 100 inhabitants; and
  • The number of fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants has climbed to 13.1 this year, including 31 in developed countries.
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