How many people use the internet?

Robin Layton

Dec 1, 2023 — 5 min read

Family in a kitchen using a laptop.

Key findings

  • 65.7% of the world’s total population uses the internet
  • 95% use a mobile phone to go online at least some of the time
  • 6 of 10 use laptops or desktops to access the internet
  • 4.48 billion people use the internet for social media interactions

The United Nations estimates that as of Dec. 1, 2023, there are over eight billion people in the world. Over five billion of them are using the internet daily to find information, stay in touch with family and friends and keep up to date on events, the most popular reasons everyone is connecting online. And the online audience is growing. It’s estimated that over seven billion will use the internet by 2028, with an estimated population of 8.4 billion. 

Global internet usage

According to the Digital Around the World report, “current trends suggest that two-thirds of the world’s population should be online by the middle of 2024.” The report shows that the number of internet users across the globe jumped nearly 200 million in the last 12 months.

For now, most people who remain unconnected to the internet reside in Asia and Africa. 

Connecting to the internet

“More than 6 in 10 internet users in the world’s larger economies still use laptops and desktops for at least some of their online activities,” cites the report, with 95% occasionally using a mobile device. 

“Mobile phones now account for roughly 57 percent of our online time, as well as close to 53 percent of the world’s web traffic.”

A total of 383.4 million cellular mobile connections were active in the U.S. in early 2023, with this figure equivalent to 113.1 percent of the total population.

15% of U.S. adults use their mobile phone as their only internet connection, choosing not to pay extra for an in-home connection like fiber or cable. Some internet service providers (ISPs) offer internet and mobile phone bundles to make the two more affordable.

Who is using the internet?

According to Statista, as of 2022, 75% of the global population between 15 and 24 years of age use the internet. 88% of internet users in Europe are age 25 and up, with 98% of the U.S. internet users falling into that age group.

Statista also reported that as of 2022, “the share of the male population in the world that used the internet was nearly 70 percent, compared to 63 percent of the female population.”

What do we use the internet for the most?

Outside of work and school, the internet is an entertainment avenue for most users. For instance, there are over 3.09 billion video gamers worldwide.

Exploding Topics reports that in 2023, 38.1% of all TV usage is dedicated to streaming with nearly two billion subscriptions existing for streaming services.

4.48 billion people use the internet for social media interactions, with Facebook as the lead platform. China and India have the most social media users, with China over a billion and India following with nearly 800 million. 72% of internet users in the U.S. use social media daily, with over 50% of Americans using Facebook the most.

Online learning and working from home became a necessity during the pandemic. Taking classes online remains popular. “About 8.9 million students (47%) take college classes exclusively online,” reports

Working from home – requiring online access – is also an option that is here to stay. Forbes reports that “by 2025, 32.6 million Americans will work remote by 2025.”

How much do we use the internet?

The latest data from GWI “shows that the typical internet user has increased their online activity by 4 minutes per day over the past 12 months, and by 6 minutes per day versus the lowest of the most recent lows that we saw 6 months ago.”

The average American spends six hours and 58 minutes online daily, with over 70% reporting they couldn’t do their job without an internet connection. 

The United Kingdom’s Uswitch reported, “Over a quarter (26%) of all UK gamers played for between one and five hours per week.” 

In the U.S., 25% of gamers play 3 to 7 hours a week, 25% play 8 to 12 hours a week, and 25% 13 hours or more, according to a CenturyLink survey. “In 2023, 63% of Americans play mobile or console games regularly. Gen Z boasts the highest percentage of regular gamers at 66%.”

Which countries are leading the way with broadband?

The U.S. is not the leader in internet connectivity. In fact, the country is ranked 22nd with just less than 92% of the population using the internet, which is 311 million out of the 331 million people living in the country.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced several broadband funding initiatives over the last few years to bridge the American digital divide. The latest version of the FCC coverage map shows seven million homes and businesses are still without high-speed internet accessibility. 

Norway, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. can all boast that 99% of their populations are connected to the internet. Countries in Eastern Africa are the least connected at just 23%.

So, what are the top countries doing to achieve that nearly perfect internet reach? Norway, about the size of the U.S. state of New Mexico, has a robust fiber network.

“This network has been continually expanded and upgraded over the years, ensuring that even remote and rural areas have access to reliable and fast internet connections,” reports TS2.

“In addition to the fiber-optic network, Norway also has a comprehensive system of undersea cables, which connect the country to other parts of Europe and the world.”

Other top countries have invested in fiber internet connections as well, which have paid off with nearly 100% of their residents having high-speed access to the internet.

Key summary of how many people use the internet

Just over 67% of the world uses the internet, with that number steadily rising. Satellite internet company Starlink is bringing internet connectivity to areas that haven’t previously been served and more fiber build-outs are expanding high-speed internet across the world. 

Laptops and desktops still lead in how we connect to the internet, but mobile phones are a very popular access point for internet use, with 95% of cell phone users occasionally getting online via their phones.

Global internet use FAQs

How many people use the internet in the world?

5.3 billion people in the world regularly access the internet.

Norway and Saudi Arabia are among the top connected countries, at 99%.

East African countries have the least connected residents.

Nearly 4.4 billion people interact online via social media.

Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site … Read more