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World population using the Internet, 1990-2035

This graph shows the percentage of the world's population using the Internet from 1990 to 2018, with a future trend line projected to 2035. The Internet first became mainstream in the mid-1990s, although this was mainly in the developed world. It continues to expand rapidly today, with most of the growth now occurring in developing nations. The global percentage reached 50% in 2018, according to the UN and the International Telecommunication Union.

Global usage will continue to trend upwards, following a vague S-curve as shown here. However, it is unlikely to reach 100% anytime soon – due to cultural, lifestyle, personal and other reasons. For example, a number of isolated tribes and other unique groups of people either lack access to modern technology or deliberately eschew it, while even some people in advanced nations simply choose not to use the Internet.

 

internet users worldwide 1990 2035 future trend

 

Sources:

1990-2016
World development indicators, World Bank:
https://databank.worldbank.org/data/source/world-development-indicators

2017-2018
Statistics > Individuals using the Internet, International Telecommunication Union (ITU):
https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx

 

Posted: 22nd February 2019. Last updated: 22nd February 2019.