Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 19, 2018, 3:48 p.m.
Audience & Social

Here are just a few of the global disparities surfaced in a new Pew Research Center report published on Tuesday and covering 39 countries around the world.

In South Korea, nearly all of its population — 96 percent — access the internet at least “occasionally,” or own a smartphone. In the sub-Saharan African region, median internet use is below half the population — 41 percent — across six countries.

In India and Japan, men were much more likely than women to access the internet. The gap also persisted in Tunisia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Senegal.

The rise of internet access (and smartphone ownership), however, has been rapid in the past couple of years, specifically in countries with developing economies surveyed by Pew.


Graphic by Marlee Baldridge, footage by Google Earth.

Individuals with higher incomes were more likely to own a smartphone. In Peru, for instance, about 60 percent of those reporting higher incomes said they owned a smartphone, while 24 percent of those with lower incomes said they owned a smartphone. But, the report points out, “significant, double-digit divides by income on smartphone ownership exist in all the other countries surveyed, with the exception of Lebanon.”

A median of 75 percent of people in the countries Pew surveyed either used the internet “occasionally” or owned a smartphone (which according to Pew, reasonably, means they use the internet). At least 75 percent of adults in the countries Pew surveyed said they owned some sort of mobile phone, but globally, fewer owned smartphones. The differences in smartphone ownership between countries with developing economies and countries with developed economies are significant:

In 12 of the 22 emerging and developing nations surveyed, fewer than 50 percent report owning a smartphone. And in India and Tanzania, fewer than one-quarter report owning smartphones, the lowest among the countries surveyed.

Among emerging and developing nations, Middle Eastern countries in particular have high rates of smartphone ownership, including 80 percent in Lebanon and 76 percent in Jordan.

Similar to internet use, smartphone ownership is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, where a median of 33 percent report owning a smartphone.

Asia-Pacific (53 percent) and Latin America (54 percent) are closer to Europe (70 percent) in median smartphone ownership than they are to sub-Saharan Africa.

Age and education are also distinguishing factors. In Greece, for instance, 93 percent of adults surveyed between 18 and 36 said they owned a smartphone, but only 38 percent of those 37 or older said they did. (Greece also has a 40-percent gap in smartphone ownership between those who’ve received less education and those with more.)

Like many Arab countries, Lebanon and Jordan are experiencing a “youth bulge”: The median age is 31 in Lebanon and 23 in Jordan. The age differences in these countries aren’t as drastic as in Germany and Japan – a 34-point gap in Lebanon and 8 points in Jordan – but the large youth population contributes to high social media use.

The report highlights unevenness in social media use — and growth of social media use — around the world. Some larger, developed economies had notably low levels of social media use: In Germany, only 46 percent of the population use social media, though far more people in those countries own smartphones. Meanwhile, social media use has risen rapidly in other countries from 2015 through last year:

In the Philippines, for example, while overall levels of social media use stand at about half of the population, among internet users, that figure is closer to nine-in-ten (88 percent).

And in Jordan, an astounding 94 percent of internet users are also on social networking sites.

Only 49 percent of Lebanese adults used social media in 2015; in 2017 that number is 72 percent.

Similarly, just two years ago only 51 percent of South Korean adults were on social media, compared with almost 69 percent in 2017.

These findings were based on a survey conducted in 37 countries in early 2017, with 40,448 respondents, and surveys conducted in the U.S. in 2018 with 2,002 people and in China in 2016 with 3,154 people. The full report with findings and analyses is available here.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers
The tariffs increase the cost of newsprint by as much as 30 to 35 percent, though the impact on publishers is highly uneven, with some chains in better shape and the dwindling independents most at risk.
Facebook will take down posts that could cause “real physical harm,” but Holocaust denials (and Pizzagate?) remain okay
Plus: Anger trumps love (in Facebook reactions to legislators’ posts), the most-shared news sources on right-wing social network Gab, and connections between Macedonian teens and U.S. conservatives.
Chance the Rapper, Chance the Philanthropist, and now Chance the Publisher
He marked his purchase of Chicagoist — formerly part of the media empire of Joe Ricketts, whose family owns the Cubs — by beefing with Crain’s Chicago Business.