Chapter Five: Basic Net Data
Richard T. Griffiths (Leiden University)
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This chapter has relied heavily on:
Globalisation has been in vogue since the mid-1980s, referring to the increasing interdependence of the world economy and to the increasing “statelessness” of some of the major players. The growth of the internet, and its geographical spread, lent itself to the same rhetoric… and no wonder. With a PC and a modem, anyone could join the “global village”. However, the growth of the internet has been anything but even, and large areas of the world have scarcely been touched by the internet explosion.
Figure one: Share of World's Internet Users
Another analysis estimates the number of internet users in December 2000 at 418.6 million and gives the following breakdown:
Figure Two: Distribution of Internet Users (millions)
The world pattern is not just one of countries. The map below demonstrates that even within countries, there are major differences in internet coverage. The use of the internet, not surprisingly, is largely an urban phenomenon… providing some pockets of coverage in cities in developing countries, but leaving large swathes of mankind almost completely untouched.
Figure Three: Distribution of Internet Coverage
We can also view the growth of the internet through the main content providers, through an analysis of the domain names. Analysis undertaken in Berkeley has used CONE domain names as a basis for analysis. CONE stands for:
This does not cover the whole span of options, and country names have become increasingly popular.
Figure Four: Growth of CONE Domain names (January each year unless otherwise stated)
These CONE domains are centrally registered in the USA, but they also record the country of registration. The dominance of the United States is immediately evident, although it has been decreasing over time, from 74.4% in January 1999 to 60.8% in January 2001. If, however, we include the country domain names (and the US does not have a country code) the percentages are more modest still. In January 1999 the US represented 54.6% and in January 2001 42,3%. The concentration of domain names in urban centres is also striking. Six major metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Washington DC) accounted for no less than 17.7% of all the top-level names registered.
Figure Five: Distribution of CONE and Country Domain Names
Age distribution has tended to age as the internet expands.
Figure Six and Seven: Age distribution tendency
The use of the internet, world-wide is concentrated in the age-groups 20-45 (which represents 64.7%) and tailing off each five-year age span thereafter. The over-sixties together make up less than 5% of the users. The European pattern diverges markedly from the rest, with 68.4% of users concentrated in the age groups 21-35. It is possible that this might have something to do with a small sample size (1998 n=369) but the pattern persists in earlier samples.
Figure Eight: Age Distribution and Location
There was once a time when the distribution of internet users was overwhelmingly male. In 1994 they represented 95% of all usersworld-wide, but this has rapidly fallen to 65% today. One notable feature is that Europe has been much slower in this transition than either the USA or the rest of the world. This pattern, too, is evident in earlier surveys.
Figure Nine: Gender Distribution of Internet use 1998 (percent)
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Last update: 11 October 2002