Smartphone ownership and Internet usage continues to climb in emerging economies.

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But Advanced Economies Still Have Higher Rates of Technology Use

The percentage of people in emerging and developing nations who say that they use the internet and own a smartphone has risen noticeably over the past two years, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 40 countries. While people in advanced economies still use the internet more and own more high-tech gadgets, the emerging world is catching up.

In 2013, a median of 45% across 21 emerging and developing countries reported using the internet at least occasionally or owning a smartphone. In 2015, that figure rose to 54%, with much of that increase coming from large emerging economies, such as Malaysia, Brazil and China. By comparison, a median of 87% access the internet across 11 advanced economies surveyed, including the U.S. and Canada, major Western European nations, developed Pacific nations (japan, Australia and South Korea) and Israel.

While smartphones are much more common in advanced economies, smartphone ownership rates in emerging and developing nations are rising at an extraordinary rate, climbing from a median of 21 % in 2013 to 37% in 2015. Overwhelming majorities in almost every nation surveyed report owning some form of mobile device, even if they are not considered smartphones.

In addition to the rising internet access rates in emerging and developing nations, those who have internet access worldwide are voracious users. Roughly three-quarters of adult internet users across the 40 countries surveyed in 2015 say that they use the internet at least once a day, with majorities in many countries saying that they access it several times a day.

Once online, 76% of internet users across the 40 countries surveyed use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Internet users in many emerging and developing countries are more likely to use these sites compared with those in advanced nations. Roughly three-quarters or more of internet users in the Middle East (86%), Latin America (82%) and Africa (76%) say they...

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