How Many People Use the Internet?
When the internet was made public in 1991, it was very swiftly adopted. And as technology developed and its benefits became clear, more and more people moved to incorporate the online world in their daily lives. How many people use the internet today? The latest statistics show that the answer is 4.66 billion in 2021.
But to fully understand the impact of this number, we must put it into context. Let’s look at some statistics on global internet users.
The number of global internet users has been on the increase ever since the internet was adopted worldwide. 2021’s figure of 4.66 billion marks a 2.6 percent year-over-year, the slowest growth rate in nearly a decade.
Despite the slowdown, the latest figures show that the number of global internet users has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and is now double the 2.33 billion in 2013.
The number of global internet users breached the three-billion mark in 2015. It took all but three years to add another billion, with the number hitting 4.02 billion in 2018.
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Global Internet Users by Region
Despite the widespread use of the internet across the globe, there are stark differences in its penetration rate across the different regions.
Currently, the number of internet users represents 59.5 percent of the population worldwide. Internet penetration is, however, much higher in developed regions.
In most of Europe and North America, 90 percent or more of the population are internet users. In other words, nine out of every ten inhabitants in these areas use the internet. In fact, in the United States, more than 80 percent of adults say they go online every single day.
In contrast, just over one in four people in Middle and Eastern Africa use the internet. These are the regions with the lowest internet penetration rates.
However, it is in these developing regions where internet usage growth has been the greatest. The number of internet users in mid-Africa grew 21.3 percent from 2020 to 2021, the highest of all regions. This is followed by western Africa with a 17.2 percent growth and eastern Africa with 10.2 percent.
This growth in the number of internet users in the developed world is much lower. Northern America saw a marginal increase of just 3.4 percent, while Northern America saw its number of internet users grow by just one percent in 2021.
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