Rural-urban gap in mobile internet access in LMICs 2019, by region

In 2019, the rural-urban gap in mobile internet use across low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide was 37 percent, down from 41 percent in the previous year. Additionally, LMICs in the Sub-Saharan Africa region had the largest rural-urban gap with a person living in a rural area being 60 percent less likely to access the internet than a person living in an urban area.

Rural-urban gap in mobile internet use in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide from 2017 to 2019, by region

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Sources

Release date

September 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2017 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The ‘rural-urban gap’ refers to how much less likely a person living in a rural area is to use mobile internet than a person living in an urban area. It is calculated as 1-(mobile internet adoption in rural areas/mobile internet adoption in urban areas). Data was sourced from the GSMA Intelligence Consumers in Focus Survey and Gallup World Poll (for countries not included in the former). There are differences between the two questions used for the analysis. The GSMA Intelligence Consumers in Focus Survey refers to individuals that have used the internet on a mobile phone at least once in the last three months. The Gallup World Poll survey refers to individuals that have access to the internet in any way, whether on a mobile phone, computer or some other device. The survey questions are therefore not wholly comparable. However, data for countries covered in both surveys have a high correlation (0.8) and the 28 countries included in the GSMA Intelligence Consumers in Focus Survey represent 75% of the total adult population of all LMICs.

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