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Sun Jun 26 04:41:50 SAST 2016

Most Millennials in South Africa do not have access to the Internet - Survey

TMG Digital | 22 February, 2016 16:44

Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

South Africa’s unequal economy shows up in a worldwide survey on Internet access and smartphones.

A survey of 40 countries by the Washington-based Pew Research Center‚ issued on Monday‚ shows that the percentage of people in emerging and developing nations who use the Internet and own a smartphone - defined as a cellphone that can access the ‘net and apps - has risen noticeably over the past two years.

In 2013‚ a median of 45% across 21 emerging and developing countries reported using the internet at least occasionally or owning a smartphone. In 2015‚ that figure rose to 54%. Much of that increase came from large emerging economies‚ including Malaysia‚ Brazil and China.

Smartphone ownership rates in emerging and developing nations are also rising at a fast pace‚ climbing from a median of 21% in 2013 to 37% in 2015.

Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) are much more likely to be internet or smartphone users compared with those ages 35 and older‚ the research showed.

However‚ in several large emerging economies – notably South Africa‚ Nigeria and India - Pew says fewer than six-in-ten Millennials have access to the Internet.

Pew noted the effect of per capita income on its research.

“People with higher incomes are more likely to say that they use the internet occasionally or own a smartphone. These in-country gaps by income are less uniformly distributed across richer or poorer nations. For example‚ the largest income gaps occur in a diverse set of countries including Lebanon (51-point gap between higher and lower income)‚ Peru (+40)‚ Japan (+35)‚ South Africa (+35)‚ Brazil (+34)‚ Malaysia (+33)‚ Italy (+30)‚ Russia (+30) and Jordan (+30).”

Of the 40 countries surveyed‚ South Korea stands out as the country with the highest smartphone ownership rate‚ with 88% of respondents saying they own one. The countries with the least smartphone ownership rates are also among the poorest: Tanzania (11%)‚ Uganda (4%) and Ethiopia (4%).

Once online‚ 76% of internet users across the 40 countries surveyed use social networking sites‚ such as Facebook and Twitter‚ Pew found. Internet users in many emerging and developing countries are more likely to use these sites compared with those in advanced nations. Roughly three-quarters or more of internet users in the Middle East (86%)‚ Latin America (82%) and Africa (76%) say they use social networks‚ compared with 71% in the U.S. and 65% across six European nations.

- See the full report here.

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