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The internet in Latin America
and in Spanish-speaking areas


One of a series of analyses
by Giancarlo Livraghi gandalf.it

Updated February 29, 2012
Based on statistics up to December 2011

The next update will probably be here
in February or March 2013

This analysis had been developed, for several years,
as a study of “large language communities”.
It is still updated, as such, in Italian
(numbers, charts and graphs are clear in any language.)
This is a shorter report that covers a specific subject:
Latin America (and the Spanish-speaking community.)

In 2004 there was one contry with twenty million internet hosts: the United States. Now there are six with over 25 million. (See wordlwide data.) But they are nine if we consider as “nations” the Spanish-speaking community and the Chinese ethnic environment – and since 2009 also Portuguese.

The Spanish-speaking area includes 500 million people (nine tenths of which are in the American continent.)  They don’t speak “identical” languages but they understand each other and share culture and knowledge. This is, after English, the second largest language community in the “western” world.

With 59 million internet hosts, the Spanish-speaking “nation” is the third largest by hostcount, after the United States and Japan. (If we include Portuguese, the total is 86 million hosts, second only to the US.)

This graph summarizes the growth of internet activity in the Spanish and Portuguese areas in twelve years.

Internet hosts – 1999-2010
millions of hosts

The gray line is an index of worldwide percentage growth

In recent years there has been fast growth of the internet in Spanish-speaking areas and especially in some Latin American countries. The situation is summarized in this chart, from two points of view: Latin America (including Brazil) and Spanish language (including Spain.)

There are 21 countries in these areas with over a thousand internet hosts.

  No. of hosts
December 2011
Per 1000
Brazil 23,789,506 124.7
Mexico 15,165,150 135.0
Argentina 10,927,967 272.6
Colombia 4,281,046 94.1
Chile 1,853,927 108.5
Uruguay 945,826 281.8
Venezuela 888,028 30.3
Dominican repub. 404,057 43.1
Guatemala 346,834 23.6
Peru 283,988 9.5
Paraguay 278,473 53.5
Nicaragua 178.278 30,6
Bolivia 167,123 16.1
Ecuador 162,281 11.3
Costa Rica 146,164 38.4
Panama * 120,000 35.2
Honduras 27.074 3,4
El Salvador 22,372 3.6
Cuba 3,664 0.3
Latin America 60,500,000 106.7
Spain * 17,000,000 364.8
Andorra 28,131 331.0
Spanish language 58,600,000 126.7

* Hostcount figures for Spain and Panama appear understated at this time
and therefore the number is arbitrarily, but not unreasonably, increased.
The total for Spanish language includes an approximate estimate
of the large “hispanic” communities in the United States.

As in all parts of the world, there are large differences, as is visible in this chart (eight countries with over 400,000 internet hosts, that have 98 percent of the total in Latin America.)

8 countries in Latin America

Latin America

82 percent of the total is in three countries: Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

If we look at the same situation for the Spanish-speaking area, the picture is different (of course Spain replaces Brazil.)

8 Spanish-speaking countries

spanish language

The size of the gray “slice”, in addition to other Spanish-speaking countries,
includes an approximate estimate of “hispanic” communities, especially in the US

If we “make room” for more countries by omitting the first five, we see ten in Latin America with over 140,000 hosts (only three of which appear also in the previous graph.)

10 countries in Latin America

Latin America

Let’s see now, as we do in the other data analyses, density in relation to population. The graph includes (in addition to Spain) eighteen countries with over 10,000 internet hosts, that have 99.9 percent of the total in Latin America .

Internet hosts per 1000 inhabitants
in 18 Latin American countries

(and Spain)

The size of Spain is reduced by 30 percent for graph readability.

In 2006, for the first time, density in Latin America became higher than the world average. Since 2008 there are three countries in Latin America (Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico) with over 100 internet hosts per 1000 inhabitants – with the addition of Brazil in 2010 and Chile in 2011 (Colombia, probably, in 2012.) Uruguay exceeded 200 per thousand in 2010 and Argentina in 2011.

This is the density picture in Latin America seen as a map.


For a comparison of “geographic areas”, see international data.

Growth continues, faster than world average. But (as in all other parts of the world) there are large differences. We shall probaby see more changes in coming years.

index of the “data” section

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