48b. Internet users per 100 population



The Internet is a linked global network of computers in which users at one computer, if they have permission, get information from other computers in the network.


Goal/target addressed

Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development.

Target 18. In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies.



This indicator and indicator 47 are important tools for monitoring progress towards Goal 8, because effective communication between those involved in the development process is not possible without the necessary infrastructure. Personal computers and telephone lines allow people to exchange experiences and learn from each other, enabling higher returns on investment and avoiding problems of duplication or missing information. The use of information and communication technologies can make governments more transparent, thereby reducing corruption and leading to better governance. It can help people in rural areas find out about market prices and sell their products at a better price. It can also overcome traditional barriers to better education by making books available online and opening the door to e-learning.


Method of computation

The total number of Internet users is divided by population and multiplied by 100.


Data collection and source

Internet user statistics are based largely on responses to an annual questionnaire that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) sends to government telecommunication agencies. For most developed and larger developing countries, Internet user data are based on methodologically sound user surveys conducted by national statistical agencies or industry associations. These data are either provided directly to the ITU by each country, or the ITU does the necessary research to obtain the data. For countries where Internet user surveys are not available, the ITU uses average multipliers to estimate the number of users per subscriber.



Yearbook of Statistics, annual, International Telecommunication Union (www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict).

World Telecommunication Indicators Database, annual, International Telecommunication Union (www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict).


Gender issues

Surveys have been conducted by some countries providing a breakdown between male and female Internet users. These surveys indicate that more men than women use the Internet. Because the availability of gender-disaggregated statistics for this indicator are limited, however, little is known about use by gender.



Disaggregation issues

Internet user data can be disaggregated by gender, age, frequency of use, household income, location of access and other variables. However, this information is available only for a limited number of countries that collect data on information and communication technology use in household surveys.


Periodicity of measurement



Comments and limitations

The quality of the Internet user data varies, and the quality of data for smaller developing countries is uncertain. The data can also be misleading because of multiple prepaid Internet accounts, free Internet access accounts or public Internet access such as Internet cafés.



International Telecommunication Union.