Report: 1 in 5 households is not connected to the internet

Joe Supan

Apr 3, 2024 — 5 min read

We compiled all the data that shows us where internet connectivity is at today — and where it's going.

Adult sitting at desk using laptop and large monitor.

Key findings

  • Over two-thirds of the global population uses the internet, but 2.6 billion people are still offline.
  • More than three-quarters of the world’s population now own a mobile phone.
  • In the United States, 1 in 5 households is not connected to the internet at home.
  • The median download speed in the U.S. is over 242 Mbps, the sixth fastest in the world.
  • U.S. households spend an average of $118/mo. on cable and internet.

The scale of the internet can be hard to wrap your head around. About two-thirds of the world now uses the internet regularly, and in the United States, around 93% of adults are online. That said, there are still huge disparities in internet use. To help monitor the state of the internet globally and in the U.S., Allconnect will continue to monitor and update these key markers as new data becomes available. 

Global internet usage

The past two decades have seen an explosion in internet connectivity, adding about 98 million users in the past year alone. Of course, this isn’t distributed evenly — there are still sharp disparities in internet use between men and women, urban and rural residents, and different regions.

  • An estimated 5.4 billion people, or 67% of the world’s population, use the internet, a growth of 4.7% since 2022.1
  • North America has the highest share of its population using the internet (91%), followed by Europe and Central Asia (83.8%), Middle East and North Africa (75.5%), and Latin America and Caribbean (73.9%).2
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the least connected region, with just 29% of the population using the internet.2
  • Globally, 70% of the male population uses the internet, compared to 65% of the female population. That means there were 244 million more men than women using the internet in 2023.1
  • Women outnumber male non-users by 17%, up from 11% in 2019.1
  • 81% of people living in cities used the internet in 2023, compared to just 50% of people living in rural areas.1
  • Over the past five years, data usage has increased by an average of 22% yearly for each internet user.1


For many people, smartphones are their primary gateway to the internet. In areas without reliable or affordable broadband internet, mobile connections do much of the heavy lifting of getting residents online.

  • Over the past decade, the percentage of the global population with a smartphone grew by a massive 14.8% per year on average.1
  • in 2023, 78% of the world’s population aged 10 and older own a mobile phone.1
  • Mobile broadband (3G or above) is currently available to 95% of the world’s population.1
  • Since 2019, 5G coverage has increased to reach 40% of the world’s population in 2023.1
  • 61% of all internet traffic in the world comes through a mobile phone. In the United States, only 52% of traffic is mobile.3
  • 5G connections are expected to represent over half (51%) of mobile connections by 2029, and 56% by the end of 2030.15
  • 5G has been the fastest mobile generation rollout to date, surpassing one billion connections by the end of 2022, rising to 1.6 billion connections at the end of 2023 and 5.5 billion by 2030.15
  • As of 2023, there are 111 mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 people.1
  • As of February 2024, the average speed for mobile connections around the world is 51.16 Mbps download and 11.37 Mbps upload.5
  • Qatar leads the world in mobile speed, with 286.42 Mbps download speed on average.6
  • Users in the United States get average mobile speeds of 122.74 Mbps download, which is 11th fastest in the world.7

Social media

We know mobile broadband use has grown exponentially, but what exactly are people using it for? The answer is simple: Social media and entertainment.

  • As of January 2024, there are an estimated 5.04 billion social media users worldwide. 16
  • Facebook is the most popular platform worlwide, based on monthly active users (3.49 billion), followed by YouTube (2.49 billion), WhatsApp (2 billion) and Instagram (2 billion). 17
  • As of 2024, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 143 minutes per day.18
  • In the U.S., internet users spent about two hours and 16 minutes per day on social media – but this doesn’t account for all screen time. 18

Broadband speed

Home internet speed has grown exponentially in the past decade. Globally, the average broadband speed is currently double what it was in 2018 — going from 46 Mbps to 110 Mbps — and shows no signs of slowing down as connected homes require increasing amounts of bandwidth.

  • The median speed for broadband connections globally is 92.26 Mbps download and 44.65 Mbps upload.5
  • Users in the United States get median fixed broadband speeds of 242.38 Mbps download and 30.68 Mbps upload, ranking sixth fastest in the world.7
  • The average internet plan in the U.S. is advertised at 307.73 Mbps download speeds.8
  • Broadband speed in the U.S. increased 18% overall between 2021 and 2022.9

Broadband access

While internet access has exploded over the past decade, it has not been distributed equitably. Here’s where we currently stand on the digital divide in the U.S. and around the world.

  • 19% of the global population has a home broadband subscription.1
  • In the United States, there are 37.58 broadband subscriptions per 100 people.4
  • 1 in 5 U.S. households are not connected to the internet at home.10
  • 58% of offline households say they have no interest in going online, while 18% said it’s too expensive, and 4% said it’s not available in their area.10
  • 83% of White Americans have a home broadband subscription, compared with 68% of Black adults and 75% of Hispanic adults.11
  • 86% of suburban Americans have a broadband subscription, compared with 77% of adults living in urban areas and 73% in rural areas.11 
  • The average U.S. household spends $118/mo. on cable and internet.13
  • 7% of Americans say they don’t use the internet at all.14


Joe Supan

Written by:

Joe Supan

Principal Writer, Broadband Content

Joe is a senior writer for CNET covering home technology and broadband. Prior to joining CNET, Joe led MYMOVE’s moving coverage and reported on broadband policy, the digital divide, and privacy issues for the br… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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