analisi più estesa in italiano



People online in Italy

One of a series of analyses
by Giancarlo Livraghi

Data up to June, 2011
There are more recent updates online in Italian

Data on the internet in Italy,
based on hostcount and compared
with other countries, are in the
European and international analyses.
This is a short summary
of a more detailed report in Italian
on how many people
are connected to the internet in Italy.

Estimates of the number of internet “users” are unreliable everywhere – and often exaggerated. In the case of Italy, reliable sources indicate that in 2011 there are 25 million people online – or maybe 26, if we include people who use the internet occasionally.

There was considerable growth in 1998-2000. There was relatively slower development in following years, but growth continued, as we see in this graph.

People online in Italy 1997-2010
Numbers in millions


Data in this graph are based on a wide definition, including occasional use.

There seems to be some development in 2009-2011 – but not fast enough to reduce the, still wide, gap between Italy and the better developed countries.

The next graph shows the changes from January 2001 to June 2011 (for people online “at least once in the last seven days”.)

People online in Italy
January 2001 – June 2011
Numbers in thousands


For several years, since the origin of the internet, there was more use from work (and school) than from home. But the trend changed in year 2000 with more growth of online activity at home – and the trend contintues, recently becoming faster. Use at work was static in 2001, increased in 2002-2005, but less so in following years.

There are seasonal decreases in the summer and with holidays in December, but they appear less relevant in recent years.

Another graph shows the same trend, but including less frequent users (“at least once in the last thirty days”) from April 2004 to June 2011.

People online in Italy
April 2004 – June 2011
Numbers in thousands


Home use is developing on a larger scale than office, growing faster in 2009-2011 than in previous years. There is a continuing increase of frequency.

The document in Italian includes several other analyses. It is also updated more frequently.

International comparisons on the number of “internet users” are always difficult – and often unreliable. But practically all sources indicate that Italy is the fourth country in Europe by total number of people online (it was overtaken by France in 2006.)

However density (percentage of population) in Italy is still far behind the more advanced countries in Europe and elsewhere. As we see in this graph based on a December 2010 report by Eurostat, the official statistics department of the European Union.

Internet “users” in 31 countries
including 27 in the European Union

Percentages of population age 16 to 74
31 paesi
The red part of bars shows growth in four years (from 2006 to 2010)

There is a remarkable difference between Italy’s fairly high level of online activity as measured by hostcount (see international and European data) and the low percentage of people using the internet. According to other sources the figures are somewhat less dismal, but they all indicate that Italy is still far behind the more developed countries.

In the Italian document there are additional comparison graphs. In two other analyses in Italian there are more data on people online internationally and in the European Union.

Other data analyses

world     Europe

Asia    Africa    Latin America

index of data section

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