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 short answer is 4.131 billion as of 2019. 

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.

At 4.131 billion, this is the first time in history that the number of global internet users has exceeded four billion. It also marks an uptick of 5.3 percent 2018’s 3.924 billion.

The latest figures show that the number of global internet users has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and has even more than doubled from the 2.035 billion registered at the start of the decade in 2010. That marks an 8.2 percent average year-over-year growth over this nine-year period.

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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 represent 53.6 percent of the population worldwide. Internet penetration is, however, much higher in developed regions. 

In Europe and the Americas, 82.5 percent and 77.2 percent of the population respectively are internet users. In other words, approximately eight out of every ten inhabitants in these two regions use the internet. In fact, in the United States, more than 80 percent of adults say they go online every single day.

In contrast, the Arab states and the Asia and Pacific regions have lower-than-average penetration rates. There, the number of internet users make up around 50 percent of the population. Of all the regions, the internet penetration rate is the lowest in Africa at just 28.2 percent, which is nearly half of the global average and around one-third of Europe’s.

However, it is in developing regions where internet usage growth has been the greatest. Internet penetration there increased from 21.1 percent in 2010 to the current 47 percent, a 123 percent increase. This figure in the developed world is much lower at 30.2 percent – from the 66.5 percent penetration rate in 2010 to the current 86.6 percent.

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