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The population of the internet, in one map

How big is the internetThis map from the Oxford Internet Institute shows where the world's internet users live:

This is a cartogram, a map in which the area of each country is proportional to its online population, based on 2011 data. So countries with large land areas but small populations — like Canada and Russia — appear shrunken, while dense, well-connected areas like South Korea and Belgium appear larger than life.

The most striking region is Africa. The continent has 1.1 billion people, more than three times the population of the United States. Yet thanks to dismal internet penetration rates, the entire continent shows up as smaller than the US.

That's likely to change in the coming decades. The cost of smartphones has been plummeting, and major internet companies are working on plans to subsidize access in poor countries. So more and more people in Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world, will come online in the coming decade.

While the United States is more wired than much of the world, the US is not a world leader when it comes to internet penetration. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Scandanavian countries, South Korea, and New Zealand all have a higher percentage of their people online. The US has about the same Internet penetration as France, Australia, and Japan.

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