Almost 85% of people aged 10 and over access the internet in Brazil

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In 2021, 84.7% (or 155.7 million) of people aged 10 years and over, in the Brazilian population of 183.9 million, accessed the internet. This percentage has been growing since 2016, when 66.1% of the population in this age group had used the network, rising to 79.5% in 2019 and 84.7% last year.

The data are from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Pnad): Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 2021, released today (16) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

In 2021, the results of this index of people who accessed the internet in the North (76.3%) and Northeast (78.1%) remained lower than those achieved in the other regions, despite the increase between 2019 and 2021 having been higher in these large regions (6.3 percentage points and 8.1 percentage points, respectively).

In the country, 85.6% of women used the internet last year, slightly above the percentage presented by men (83.7%).


In 2021, the percentage of people who accessed the internet was 90.3% in the student group, while among non-students the rate was 83.2%. In relation to the previous year, there was an increase in both groups, especially among non-students (5.8 pp).

“When considering the education network, important differences are observed in the use of the internet by students. While 98.2% of students in the private network used the internet in 2021, the percentage among those in the public school system was 87%”, says the IBGE.

According to the survey, regional differences in internet use are more marked among public school students. Thus, while in the North and Northeast the rates of this portion that used the internet were 73.2% and 83.2%, respectively, in the other large regions it ranged from 91% to 92.2%.

When only students from the private education network are considered, the percentage of internet use was above 96% in all major regions, reaching practically all students in the South, Southeast and Midwest.

age groups

In 2021, the percentage of people who accessed the internet in the 10-13 age group was 82.2%. The index grew successively in the subsequent age groups and reached almost 95% in the 25-29 age group, and then dropped to 57.5% in the 60-year-old group and over.

According to the IBGE, although it has been growing in all age groups, the increase was more accelerated in older ages, which may have been propitiated by the evolution in the facilities for the use of this technology and its dissemination in daily life. In this sense, the increase in the percentage of people who used the internet, between 2019 and 2021, was greater in the age groups from 50 to 59 years and 60 years of age or older (increases of 8.9 percentage points and 12.7 pp. , respectively).

IBGE analyst Flávia Vinhaes notes that the increase in internet use by those aged 60 or over was largely due to the social isolation caused by the covid-19 pandemic, which forced the elderly to become familiar with the technology to ask food and medicine at home, keep in touch with family members and access banking services.


In 2021, in the population aged 10 years and over who used the internet, the means of access indicated by the largest number of people was the cell phone (98.8%), followed, to a lesser extent, by television (45.1 %), the microcomputer (41.9%) and the tablet (9.3%).

The same scenario was observed in relation to the household. Between 2019 and 2021, there was an increase in the use of television to access the internet (12.9 pp) and a reduction in the use of microcomputers (4.3 pp) and tablet (1.6 pp). The IBGE researcher highlights that it was the first time that television surpassed the computer as a means of accessing the internet.

“Considering the student condition, there was greater use of the microcomputer (51.7%), television (49.4%) and tablet (12.3%) to access the internet among students in 2021. These percentages for non-students were 39.2%, 43.9% and 8.4%, respectively. Cell phones were used by almost all students and non-students alike (97.9% and 99%, in that order)”, says the survey.

The survey identified that the group of students is not homogeneous. When they are separated by school system, there are significant differences in the use of computers, television and tablet to access the internet. In 2021, while 80.4% of students from the private network accessed the internet via computer, this percentage was only 38.3% among students from the public network.

The use of television to access the internet occurred for 64.6% of students from the private network, this rate being one and a half times that observed among students from the public network (42.2%). in the use of tablet, the difference reaches almost three times. Cell phones were the main equipment used to access the internet by students both in public (97.6%) and private (98.6%) networks.

The rate of people who used the network to send or receive text, voice, or picture messages through applications other than emailwhich was the most frequent purpose until 2019, stood at 94.9% last year.

According to the IBGE, chatting via voice or video calls (95.7%) became the most informed purpose in 2021, a proportion that has been increasing since 2016, as well as that of people who used the internet to watch videos, including programs, series and movies (89.1%). On the other hand, the percentage that accessed the internet for the purpose of sending and receiving emailwhich had been decreasing every year, remained at 62% last year.

In the country, in 2021, 15.3% of people aged 10 and over did not use the internet. The two reasons most cited by this contingent, made up of 28.2 million people, were not knowing how to use the internet (42.2%) and lack of interest in accessing the internet (27.7%). The next two reasons were economic reasons and together accounted for 20.2%: 14% said the internet service was expensive and 6.2% said the necessary electronic equipment was expensive. The fact that the access service was not available in places where people used to go was at 5.3%.

In 2021, 155.2 million people aged 10 years and over had a cell phone for personal use, which corresponded to 84.4% of the population in this age group, a percentage higher than that estimated for 2019 (81.4%). . However, according to the IBGE, there was a large discrepancy between the percentages according to the household situation. While 87.1% of people living in urban areas had cell phones for personal use, this rate was 67.6% among people in rural areas.

According to the researchers, access to the internet through cell phones is a communication and information resource that has been increasingly seen in the daily lives of a growing number of people.

From 2019 to 2021, in the population aged 10 years and over who had a cell phone for personal use, the share that had access to the internet through this device increased from 91.7% to 94.8%. In rural areas, this percentage increased from 80.7% to 89.1%, but it was even lower than in urban areas, which increased from 93% to 95.5%.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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