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Here’s Where All The World’s Internet Users Live
October 11, 2013
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(Image: Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata/Oxford Internet Institute)

What would the world look like if each country were stretched or squeezed according to how many internet users it had? Something like the image you see above, from Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata, the same Oxford researchers who made that map of the world's favourite websites that we showed you last week.

In the map, Graham and De Sabbata use hexagons to draw each country, with one hexagon representing about a third of a million internet users. The darker the country appears, the higher percentage of its citizens are online. (The data, from 2011, is from the World Bank, which has tracked internet connectivity since the 1990s.)

"The reason we created [the map] was to show what the connected world looks like," Graham told Strombo.com. One of the most important things the map shows: "the internet isn't just a western-centric network, which is something that I think a lot of people forget."

In an internet-stretched world, China appears even more massive than usual, with over half a billion people online. Overall, Asia accounts for 42 per cent of the entire internet, with China, India and Japan together outweighing all of North America and Europe. What's more, there's still plenty of room to grow in Asia; India has less than 20 per cent of its 1.2 billion people online.

Canada ranks as one of only four countries outside Europe with more than 80 per cent of its population online (83 per cent, to be exact); the U.S., at 77.9 per cent, has yet to cross that threshold. (The other three are New Zealand, Qatar and South Korea.)

The other striking finding from the map, Graham says, is "the fact that a lot of the world is still largely left off the map." Over half of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have less than 10 per cent of their populations online, a number that hasn't budged much in recent years. In North Africa, however, the picture is quite different, with most countries doubling their online populations in the last three years.

Here are the top 20 countries by estimated number of internet users:

  1. China — 514,801,790
  2. United States — 242,614,880
  3. India — 125,018,240
  4. Japan — 101,653,080
  5. Brazil — 88,494,756
  6. Russian Federation — 70,050,400
  7. Germany — 67,892,069
  8. France — 52,072,150
  9. United Kingdom — 51,450,146
  10. Nigeria — 46,190,431
  11. Indonesia — 43,618,615
  12. South Korea — 41,714,802
  13. Mexico — 41,497,793
  14. Italy — 34,491,007
  15. Egypt — 31,933,476
  16. Spain — 31,214,030
  17. Turkey — 31,002,270
  18. Vietnam — 30,805,488
  19. Canada — 28,621,699
  20. Philippines — 27,507,089

Via Oxford Internet Institute


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