ITU’s measuring digital development 2021 report flags out ‘grand canyon’ with several digital divides

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published its annual flagship report Measuring digital Development: Facts and Figures 2021 which provides a snapshot of the most important information and communication technology (ICT) indicators for 2021. The recent statistics found that 4.9 billion people (63% of the world’s population) are using the internet in 2021 which marks a 17% increase since 2019. That said, the report unveiled a connectivity ‘grand canyon’ which divides between the digitally empowered and the digitally excluded where 96% of the 2.9 billion not connected are living in the developing world. The rural and urban digital divide was also demonstrated in the report where the share of Internet users in urban areas is twice as high as in rural areas. A gender and generational divides were further manifested. For example, 62% of men are using the Internet compared with 57% of women, and 71% of the world’s population aged 15-24 is using the Internet compared with 57% of all other age groups.