There is no doubt that the internet is impacting the human race immensely. Within the United States alone, there are about seven thousand internet service providers. Another figure that shows just how much the internet is abounding the number of devices connected to the internet. A market research company based in Newton MA just published a report stating that, by December 2025, the number of devices connected to the internet would increase to be up to 35 billion.
As the internet has such a great impact on our day, we often end up having discussions about it. While some focus on the varying uses of the internet, others find themselves wondering about the exact number of internet users in the world. If you are one of the latter, you have landed at the perfect place! This is because we will try to gauge the number of internet users in the world and how it is counted and detail how the number has increased over the years.
Internet World Stats reports that there are currently 5.1 billion internet users in the world. To put things into context, that is approximately two-thirds of the people living on the face of this Earth! Researchers have come up with this number by seeing the number of people who respond “yes” to the following kinds of questions:-
1) Do you from time to time make use of the net?
2) Do you, at the very minimum occasionally, send and/or receive emails?
Famous research organizations, that come up with figures about the number of internet users; include think tanks such as the Pew Research Foundation.
There are many challenges people face when it comes to internet usage. Most of these challenges are in developing countries. When multiple members of the household use the same device to use the internet, it becomes difficult to decipher the exact number of internet users in that house. This may end up contributing to a potential underestimation of the number of internet users worldwide.
Another challenge faced is that many people do not have an idea of what the internet is and what is not. For example, even though many in developing countries such as Pakistan use the mobile communications app – WhatsApp, they often say no when asked if they use the internet. This is because the internet, for them, is something you use on a personal computer and they do not even categorize WhatsApp as an internet-based app.
Sometimes, governments ban the use of the internet in their countries. Now, if someone does manage to access the internet in those countries, they will not be counted as an internet user. This is because researchers will assume that no one in those countries uses the internet.
Yet another challenge to the internet is terrorism. As many internet research foundations belong to the West and anyone who works for them is considered “westernized,” researchers that are responsible for counting the number of internet users in an area are often under threat from terrorists in that area.
Even though all the above were problems in developing countries, there are also challenges to counting internet users in developed countries. Illegal immigrants often keep themselves under the radar so they are not accounted for within the counting of the internet users.
The growth of the internet is one of the biggest developments of the previous decades. In 1995, there were 16 million users of the internet. Just within five years, by the turn of the century, that number had increased more than tenfold to 300 million – that is almost equal to the entire population of the United States of America! Five years later, in 2005, the number of internet users had doubled to 1 billion. Today, after about a decade and a half, that number is at approximately 5.1 billion. All this data has been collected from the website of Internet World Stats.
We start with the continent that has the most internet usage per person – North America. Although North America constitutes only 5% of the globe’s population, it accounts for 6.7% of the world’s internet users. Europe – the continent that hosts 12% of the people of the world – has 14.3 % of the world’s internet users. However, internet usage per person is much lesser in countries in Asia and Africa. Although Asia hosts 61% of the people of the world, it only hosts 53.4% of internet users. In the same way, even though Africa contributes 13% to the global population, it only houses 11.5% of the world’s internet users. This disparity may be there because there are more internet service providers in North America than in Asia or Africa. Just looking at the number of Xfinity packages being offered in different parts of the US and by many other top providers –is immense. Again, this analysis would not have been possible if we did not have the statistics provided by Internet World Stats at our disposal.
We hope this article gave you a better picture of the people who use the internet and you will make use of this information wisely.
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