Don't Forget Big Tech Users In Little Places

The Pew Research Center surveyed thousands of people across 32 emerging and developing nations about their technology use and how the rising influence of the internet affects their daily lives. Beyond the larger findings, says the report by Jacob Poushter, are notable data points about specific countries that might have been overlooked.

Many people worldwide are skipping the fixed telephone line that many Americans grew up with, and this fact is most apparent in many emerging and developing nations. Only 1% of the population in Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh and Uganda say they own a working landline telephone in their household, while 89% in Nigeria, 83% in Ghana, 76% in Bangladesh and 65% in Uganda own cell phones. This compares with 60% landline penetration in the U.S.

52% of online Chinese have used the internet to buy products in the past 12 months. Given the size of the online Chinese marketplace, this goes a long way in explaining the meteoric rise of commerce giants such as Alibaba and Baidu.

Among adult internet users in the Philippines, 93% say that they use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is the highest such percentage across the emerging and developing countries surveyed and greater than the 74% of internet users in the U.S. who use social networking sites. Seven-in-ten of those Filipino social networkers use these platforms to share views about music and movies, while half talk about sports.

Very few people in India and Bangladesh use the internet; only 20% and 11% respectively. But among those who do, job searching is a popular activity. Majorities 62% of internet users in Bangladesh, and 55% in India, say they have looked for a job online in the past year, the highest rates among the 31 countries surveyed that have enough internet users to analyze.

In every country polled, says the report, younger people ages 18 to 34 are substantially more likely to say they use the internet than those who are older. Large differences occur in Asia, and particularly in Thailand, where 83% of 18- to 34-year-olds are online, but only 27% of those 35 and older are.

Politics is a big social media topic in Lebanon. Among Lebanese who use social networks, three-quarters say they use the platform for discussing politics. Similar levels of political participation occur among social network users in Egypt (66%) and Jordan (63%). Across all the countries surveyed with sufficient numbers, only a median of 34% say they talk politics using social media, including 16% of Filipino and Vietnamese social networkers and 19% of Indonesians.

Ukrainians get their political news online. Overall, a median of 54% of internet users across emerging and developing countries surveyed use the internet to get political news and information. But in the Ukraine, 80% of internet users do so. However, only 53% of Ukrainians have access to the internet.

Nearly eight-in-ten Russians own a computer. Due to the rise of smartphones, many people, in emerging and developing nations, access the internet from a device other than a personal computer. But 80% Americans and 78% of Russians have a working computer in their household, in contrast to only 3% in Uganda saying they have a computer in their home.

Latin Americans (just like in the U.S.) are the quite keen on taking pictures and videos with their phones, capturing the world around them. More than six-in-ten mobile owners in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua saying they have taken videos or pictures with their phones in the past year. In Venezuela, this is particularly common: three-quarters of cell phone owners (who constitute 88% of the adult population) use their device to take pictures or video.

Many Poles access medical information online, especially women. 64% of  internet users in Poland say they have gotten health information online in the past 12 months. This includes 72% of female internet users, but only 56% of male users, according to the study.

For the comp lete report including charts and graphs, please visit Pew Research here.


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