Clarification of Answer by
07 Aug 2003 13:03 PDT
Thanks for the tip!
Just about every search I've done for the number of users has pointed
me back at the number of hosts. Getting the actual number of people
using the internet is tough because it can never be more than an
estimate. Here are some reasons that this is a tough number to gauge:
* In the United States, familes will "share" one e-mail account and
internet connection. On the opposite end, you have people with
multiple e-mail addresses connections in more than one location.
* Outside the USA, some countries have similar issues, but in others
people rely on local internet cafes for access instead of a connection
in the home. This makes it even tougher to see how many people use the
* Finally, we have reached an age where more and more devices are
wired. If a mobile phone's messaging system is tied into the internet,
does that mean that the phone's user is an internet user?
* All of the above makes a breakdown by home/office use even tougher.
The same person may be using the internet at home and in the office.
Do we count them once? Twice? What about in countries where internet
use is neither home- nor office-based, but is instead through internet
cafes and phone-based web browsers?
Here's a reference to an article detailing parts of the problem: [
The relevant quote from this article is: "Owing to the distributed
man-agement of the Internet and the World Wide Web, it is very
difficult to obtain hard numbers about the size of the Web or the
number of users. (The number of users on the Internet, often estimated
to be in the tens of millions, is itself a con-tentious issue, with
some estimates claiming this number to be an over-estimate by perhaps
as much as an order of magnitude.)"
One source for an estimate of the number of users on the internet is
at [ http://www.leninism.org/pof/pof1_r2b.htm ] I make no claim about
the accuracy of statements on this site, but he does reference his
source for a graph of users on the internet. The graph's statistics
are attributed to a book called "The Digital Economy" by Dan Tapscott.
Tapscott's methods for getting these numbers are questionable...he's
basically using a equation, which if followed through, would result in
more internet users than human beings on Earth by 2010.
Basically, nobody knows the exact number of people on the internet.
Anybody who claims to have a definitive answer is giving you a very
Here's one final search which has links to other people's estimates of
the size of the internet in various years, but also links to articles
(some of them 10 years old) which clearly explain the difficulty of
making this estimate:
Google Search: "number of users on the internet"
I hope this helps you in your research!