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More than half of the world's population is now online

Photo of investor Mary Meeker giving a presentation at Code Conference.
Mary Meeker at Code Con. Photo: Asa Mathat for Vox Media

Today, more than half of the global population uses the internet, and while many see the technology as a positive tool, there are growing concerns about over-use, per the latest Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker, Bond Capital managing partner and "Queen of the 'Net."

Why it matters: Businesses are adapting to — and even building tools for — users limiting their use of mobile devices and online apps like video streaming and social media.

By the numbers:

  • 51% of the world — or 3.8 billion people — were internet users last year, up from 49% (3.6 billion) in 2017 and only 24% in 2009. Growth slowed to about 6% in 2018.
  • The percentage of U.S. adults who say they're "almost always online" has grown from 21% three years ago to 26%.
  • The percentage of U.S. adults trying to limit personal smartphone use has grown from 47% in 2017 to 63% in 2018.
  • Apple, Google, Facebook, and YouTube have all rolled out tools to help users monitor their usage.
  • People are more concerned about privacy than a year ago (but these high concerns are moderating).
  • Encrypted messaging and Web traffic are rising.
  • And yet, U.S. users still view the internet as a positive for themselves (88%) and society (70%), though both metrics have slightly decreased since 2014.

Go deeper: Check out the full deck here.