europeans who have never used the Internet

18% of Europeans have NEVER Used the Internet. Yes, Really!

My Nan did her Christmas shopping on her iPad this year without guidance. It’s another step forward. Last year she did it online with the help of family on a laptop and has since gone touchscreen with an iPad mini that sits by her side all day, every day. She’s started using Facebook and, with the help of her 2 year old Grand Daughter (yes, 2!) is learning to play a number of games. I know this because the notifications spam me on Facebook. Thanks, Nan. She uses FaceTime to talk to family overseas on a regular basis and can take and send photos.

It seems ridiculous at the end of 2014 to even have to point out that the internet is ubiquitous. And we’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone, certainly here in Europe, just has the Internet.

But a survey conducted and released by the European Commission has found that an astounding 18% of Europeans state they have never used the Internet.

Granted, the figure has fallen since 2006 but 18% still seems remarkably high. I have a tendency to simply assume that “everyone uses the Internet.” That’s me told.

europeans who have never used the internet

Country by Country Internet Usage

Of course, it varies country by country. Here’s that breakdown from the Eurostat Press Office

european country by country internet usage statistics

  • In Iceland, only 1% of the population has never used the Internet
  • Here in the UK, that figure is 6%
  • In Romania, 39% of the population has never used the Internet

The figures are undoubtedly skewed by a handful of countries, but nonetheless a headline like “18% of Europeans have never used the Internet,” is a shocker for people like me who just assume the Internet simply is a thing for everyone all the time.

You can find the full research paper here.

Life Without the Internet?

Now this got me thinking… could I go without the Internet for a day? Could I live without it for longer?

No. I couldn’t. I can’t imagine a world where I don’t have infinite information at my fingertips or where I don’t have the ability to communicate with my friends and family at the drop of a hat from a device smaller than a notepad that I carry around with me all day.

I’m more spoiled than I realise, I suppose…. maybe I’ll try a 24 hour Internet break over Christmas. Or maybe not, if I’m being totally honest.