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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The percentage of the global population using the internet surged from 54% to 63% between 2019 and 2021, with hundreds of millions of people logging on for the first time during the pandemic, according to the UN's International Telecommunication Union.

Breaking it down: Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a big divide globally between residents of urban (76%) and rural (39%) areas. 15- to 24-year-olds (71%) are also more likely to use the internet than older people (57%).

  • Africa (33%) is far behind. Internet usage is at least 60% in every other region.
  • Mobile broadband is the main source of internet access in the developing world, and 4G networks now reach 88% of the world's population. Still, 390 million people aren't covered even by 2G.
  • Mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous in much of the world, with 90+% of the populations in countries including Egypt, Mongolia, Peru and Thailand owning a cellphone — though less than 50% do in Kenya, Pakistan and Zambia.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Immigration is the one easy trick to boost U.S. population growth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. population grew just 0.1% in the year leading up to July 1, the lowest rate since the nation's founding — and a major cause is sharply decreased immigration.

Why it matters: Sluggish population growth is putting the U.S. on a pace to be an older, less productive and less dynamic country in the future.

24 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.