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Internet Stats: Uncovering Who is Using the Internet

Mar 29, 2017
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The internet has become grafted into the very fabric of our culture. From computers to phones and now nearly every device in our homes, the internet has transformed our very lives. But how did we get here? Has the internet hit its peak? Has everyone adopted this powerful technology? 
 
Today around 40% of the world's population has an internet connection. This is a huge increase from the less than 1% that had access when the world wide web went public in 1995. In the US, Germany, France, UK and Canada, over 80% of the population has access to the internet. While many assumptions are made about the average internet user, let’s look at what the data has to say about internet users here in the US and across the world. 
 

Internet Users By County

 
In the year 2005, the internet finally hit the billion user mark and hasn’t looked back. The major growth in internet usage is a direct result of internet-connected mobile devices. This has made the internet more affordable and accessible to the lower income-earning members of the population. 
 
 
Year Internet Users** Penetration
(% of Pop)
World
Population
Non-Users
(Internetless)
1Y User
 Change
1Y User 
Change
World Pop.
Change
2016* 3,424,971,237 46.1 % 7,432,663,275 4,007,692,038 7.5 % 238,975,082 1.13 %
2015* 3,185,996,155 43.4 % 7,349,472,099 4,163,475,944 7.8 % 229,610,586 1.15 %
2014 2,956,385,569 40.7 % 7,265,785,946 4,309,400,377 8.4 % 227,957,462 1.17 %
2013 2,728,428,107 38 % 7,181,715,139 4,453,287,032 9.4 % 233,691,859 1.19 %
2012 2,494,736,248 35.1 % 7,097,500,453 4,602,764,205 11.8 % 262,778,889 1.2 %
2011 2,231,957,359 31.8 % 7,013,427,052 4,781,469,693 10.3 % 208,754,385 1.21 %
2010 2,023,202,974 29.2 % 6,929,725,043 4,906,522,069 14.5 % 256,799,160 1.22 %
2009 1,766,403,814 25.8 % 6,846,479,521 5,080,075,707 12.1 % 191,336,294 1.22 %
2008 1,575,067,520 23.3 % 6,763,732,879 5,188,665,359 14.7 % 201,840,532 1.23 %
2007 1,373,226,988 20.6 % 6,681,607,320 5,308,380,332 18.1 % 210,310,170 1.23 %
2006 1,162,916,818 17.6 % 6,600,220,247 5,437,303,429 12.9 % 132,815,529 1.24 %
2005 1,030,101,289 15.8 % 6,519,635,850 5,489,534,561 12.8 % 116,773,518 1.24 %
2004 913,327,771 14.2 % 6,439,842,408 5,526,514,637 16.9 % 131,891,788 1.24 %
2003 781,435,983 12.3 % 6,360,764,684 5,579,328,701 17.5 % 116,370,969 1.25 %
2002 665,065,014 10.6 % 6,282,301,767 5,617,236,753 32.4 % 162,772,769 1.26 %
2001 502,292,245 8.1 % 6,204,310,739 5,702,018,494 21.1 % 87,497,288 1.27 %
2000 414,794,957 6.8 % 6,126,622,121 5,711,827,164 47.3 % 133,257,305 1.28 %
 
Stats provide by: Internet live Stats.

  • In 2014, nearly 75% (2.1 billion) of all internet users in the world (2.8 billion) live in the top 20 countries.
  • The remaining 25% (0.7 billion) is distributed among the other 178 countries, each representing less than 1% of total users. 
  • China, the country with most users (642 million in 2014), represents nearly 22% of the total and has more users than the next three countries combined (United States, India, and Japan). 


Internet User Demographics

 
While many people associate heavy internet use with younger age groups, the truth is the internet is extremely diverse. Even though we have made gains, there is still a lot of room for growth across age, income, education and community type. Let’s take a look at a few of the key demographics that make up internet users today. These stats were provided by Pew Internet Research.

 

Age - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet 

  • 99% of 18 to 29-year-olds use the internet.
  • 96% of 30 to 49-year-olds use the internet.
  • 87% of 50 to 64-year-olds use the internet.
  • 67% of persons 65 years of age or older use the internet.
 
While a majority of users are in the 18 to 49-year-old age groups, the older population has embraced the internet as a whole. Today, more senior citizens are actively using the internet versus those who are not. 
 

Race - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet

  • 88% of White Americans use the internet regularly.
  • 85% of Black Americans use the internet regularly.
  • 88% of Hispanic Americans use the internet regularly.
 
Both Whites and Hispanics Americans have the same representation of users within their population sample. 85% of Black Americans reported using the internet in 2016, which is a 6-percentage point increase since 2014 and the largest gain of the three races sampled.
 

Gender - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet

  • 89% of men use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 86% of women use the internet on a regular basis.
 
The male population has a higher representation of internet users in the US as of 2016. In 2015, both genders had a 86% representation. While male usage has increased over the last year, female usage has remained flat. 
 

Income - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet

  • 79% of people who make $30,000 or less a year use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 90% of people who make between $30,000 - $49,999 a year use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 95% of people who make between $50,000 - $74,999 a year use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 98% of people who make $75,000 or more a year use the internet on a regular basis.
 
Income clearly has a direct impact on internet usage. Those who are earning less than $30,000 have much less access to the internet than those earning more than them.

 

Education - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet

 
  • 68% of persons with less than a high school education use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 81% of persons with a high school education use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 94% of persons with some college education use the internet on a regular basis. 
  • 98% of persons with a college education use the internet on a regular basis.

Education has similar numbers as income. Those who have less than a high school education seem to use the internet much less than those who have at least a high school diploma. 
 

Community - Percentage of US adults who use the Internet

  • 89% of those living in an urban community use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 90% of those living in a suburban community use the internet on a regular basis.
  • 81% of those living in a rural community use the internet on a regular basis.
 
Suburban usage surpassed Urban in 2015 and continues to rise. What’s important to note is the rise of usage from those in rural communities. 2016 saw a rise in users from 78% to 81%.
 
As you can see, the internet is extremely diverse. You can find users from nearly every age group, race, economic group, and community. Businesses looking to connect with users online can benefit from creating unique experiences that speak to their users directly. As shared in a recent post, data is only powerful when you put it into motion. So use this information to help you better connect and create content that engages your target audience. 
 
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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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