Important Statistics

The following data exemplifies some of the most salient issues surrounding Internet access and adoption. The points are color coded to correspond to the World Economic Forum Internet for All framework described in the Overview.

  • Infrastructure
  • Affordability
  • Skills, awareness & cultural acceptance
  • Local adoption & use

Internet Usage Data

Internet World Stats is an International website that features up to date world Internet Usage, Population Statistics, Travel Stats and Internet Market Research Data, for over 243 individual countries and world regions.

Internet World Stats (2016)

Gender gaps in education and access

Cities where our sample showed the highest gender gaps in education level, such as Nairobi, Kampala, Maputo, and Jakarta, were also the ones where the highest gender gaps in Internet access were reported.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]

Developing countries now account for the vast majority of Internet users

Developing countries now account for the vast majority of Internet users, with 2.5 billion users compared with one billion in developed countries. But Internet penetration rates tell a different story, with 81% in developed countries, compared with 40% in developing countries and 15% in the Least Developed Countries.

ITU (2016)

Household access reveal the extent of the digital divide

While almost one billion households in the world now have Internet access (of which 230 million are in China, 60 million in India and 20 million in the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries), figures for household access reveal the extent of the digital divide, with 84% of households connected in Europe, compared with 15.4% in the African region.

ITU (2016)

Women are less likely to access the Internet

Women are almost as likely as men to own a mobile phone of their own, but they are a third less likely than men of similar age, education level and economic status to use their phones to access the Internet.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]

UN access plan projected for 2042 – not 2020 – as planned

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) asserts everyone should have access to the Internet. Underscoring the potential of the Internet to contribute to global development and empowerment, SDG target 9c calls for universal and affordable access in the world’s least developed countries by 2020. On our current trajectory, A4AI predicts that we’ll only hit this target in 2042 — 22 years after the target date set by the global community.

A4AI (2015)

Political unrest and instability affects access

Nations dealing with political unrest and instability suffer from high unemployment rates and a lack of economic growth. This affects the purchasing power of users and their ability to affording Internet access or devices.

McKinsey (2014)

Education and age are drivers for access

The most important socio-economic drivers of the gender gap in ICT access are education and age. Controlling for income, women who have some secondary education or have completed secondary school are six times more likely to be online than women with primary school or less.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]

Investing in network infrastructure

The maturity of a country’s infrastructure as well as its demographics and geography all influence the degree of Internet coverage. In the past two decades, network operators around the world have made tremendous investments to build out Internet infrastructure and extend network access.

McKinsey (2014)

Landlocked countries face more challenges

Connectivity in developing countries is further limited if the country is landlocked.

McKinsey (2014)

Poverty and income inequality challenges growth

Growth in connectivity is lagging due to the failure of policymakers to tackle the combined effects of poverty and income inequality. While poverty on the whole is falling (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of population), there are still over two billion people living in absolute poverty across the developing world (i.e., on less than US$3.10/day), many of whom live in LDCs.

A4AI (2015)

Gender gap in Internet use

The gender gap in Internet use is staggering — in Kampala, Uganda, for example, there is just one woman online for every three men online.

A4AI (2015)

High Internet costs related to the gender gap

The countries with the highest Internet costs (as a proportion of average per capita income) have the lowest numbers of women online and the largest gender gaps in Internet use.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]

Disproportionate costs for access

India: 1MB per second costs the equivalent of US$61. These broadband access charges are more than four times that of China, Brazil and Argentina, and 20 to 30 percent higher than that of Vietnam and Malaysia.

McKinsey (2014)

A monthly prepaid data allocation of 1 GB (enough for just 13 minutes of Web use a day, excluding video ) costs, on average, about 10% of average per capita income. … And is double what people in developing countries spend on healthcare.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]

Women are significant less likely to be connected

Women are about 50% less likely to be connected than men in the same age group with similar levels of education and household income.

Web Foundation (2015) [PDF]