May 262014

In a recent post – Mexico’s internet connections and e-commerce – we looked at how 35.8% of Mexican households now have computers, 30.7% are now connected to the internet, and at the very rapid rise of e-commerce over the past few years.

How does internet access in Mexico compare to other countries? Comparative studies show that Mexico lags well behind almost all major countries in terms of internet access. Mexico’s rate of 30.7% of households with internet access compares poorly with other countries in Latin America such as Brazil (37.8%), Chile (37.8%) and Argentina (34.0%).

Among OECD member states, Mexico ranks bottom in terms of internet access. South Korea ranks top, with 97.2%. The Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark all have rates over 90%. Canada has a rate of 78.4%, the USA 71.1% and Japan 67.1%. The lowest ranking European countries are Turkey (41.6%), Greece (50.2%) and Portugal (58.0%).

Within Mexico, the rate of internet access varies widely from one state to another (see graph).

Percentage of households with internet access

Percentage of households with internet access. Source: INEGI (2014)

The disparities are evident from the graph, but the pattern becomes much clearer when the data are grouped and mapped:

Internet access, 2013

Pattern of internet access, 2013. Data: INEGI. Credit: Geo-Mexico

The north-south divide in Mexico, that we have frequently referred to in previous posts, is immediately evident (with the notable exception of the easternmost state of Quintana Roo). Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a close correlation between GDP/capita in different states and their internet access.

Discussion question:

What other factors are likely to influence rates of internet access? To support, or challenge your ideas, try using Geo-Mexico’s map index to find maps to compare with the map of internet access.

Source of data:

  • Estadísticas a Propósito del Día Mundial de Internet” (pdf file) (INEGI 2014)

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Mexico’s internet connections and e-commerce

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May 172014

Mexico, Argentina, Spain and another twenty countries from around the world celebrate today (17 May) as “World Internet Day”.  This seems like the ideal time to review just how “connected” (or not) Mexico’s cybernauts are.

Household survey figures from INEGI, the National Statistics Institute, show 11.1 million homes in Mexico (35.8% of the total) have a computer, but that 14% of these households do not have internet access. About 46 million Mexicans aged six years or older access the internet. Three quarters of all users are under the age of 35.

Digital divide map

Internet traffic flows Credit: Stephen Eick, Bell Labs / Visual Insights, <>)

64% of users utilize the internet for information, 42% as a means of communication, 36% for entertainment, 35% for education and 35.1% for social networking. (These categories are not mutually exclusive.) 43.6% of all users access internet daily, 45.5% weekly and 7.1% less often. In terms of education, 20.2% of all users have completed primary school only, 24.5% junior high and 28.6% senior high, while 23% already have a degree and 2% have postgraduate qualifications.

Data from the Mexican Internet Association (AMIPCI) shows that Mexicans’ acceptance of e-commerce is rising very rapidly. E-commerce was worth around $9.3 billion in 2013, an increase of 41% from a year earlier when the comparable figure was $6.6 billion. Indeed, APIPCI data show that e-commerce has risen at double digit rates for several years. There is still considerable room for growth since the INEGI survey shows that only about 6% of Mexico’s cybernauts currently use the internet to make purchases or pay bills.

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