Monday, May 22, 2006

Si in locul al-109-lea in lume, Republica Moldova

Some recent research on the number of internet users worldwide brought me to this ClickZ Stats web site that not only lists the estimated worldwide internet population at 1.08 billion in 2005, but also lists the population and number of internet users for 215 countries, using data from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.

Seeing this web page, I began asking myself a couple questions. First, how connected is Moldova? Where does Moldova's internet connectivity rank in the world? In the region? In the Commonwealth of Independent States? Among countries with Peace Corps volunteers?

I downloaded the web page and formatted it into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I began to play. The best determining factor of internet connectivity, I judged, was number of users per capita. I created a field in the spreadsheet to calculate the number of internet users per 10,000 people in each country. The spreadsheet contains the data for 215 countries (10 more countries are listed with only population data, and Lithuania is completely missing from the chart). Out of these 215 countries, Moldova ranks 119th with an internet connection rate of 908 internet users per 10,000 people.

Obviously, this 9 percent connection rate pales in comparison to ninth-ranked United States (6,830 users per 10,000 people) and top-ranked New Zealand (7,843 users per 10,000 people). It is also below the world average of 1,557 users per 10,000. Among European countries (including Russia and Turkey), Moldova ranks 43rd out of 47. But how does it fare among CIS countries and Peace Corps countries?

Out of 14 CIS countries (Lithuania data, as previouslyl noted, was not listed), Moldova placed sixth. Estonia and Latvia blew away the competition with connection rates of 51 percent and 36 percent, respectively, and I assume that Lithuania's access rate is similar to those of its Baltic neighbors. We can assume that with Lithuania included, Moldova would drop to seventh out of 15, which is rather respectable. The Central Asian countries were deplorable; if you're reading this blog from Tajikistan, you're not quite one in a million, but you're at least seven in 10,000.

The final comparison I made was among Peace Corps nations. Moldovan Peace Corps volunteers often hear that, in relation to volunteers in other countries, we're pretty well connected. The statistics I analyzed bore that out, as Moldova placed 17th out of 70 countries (no data was available for the small island nation of Palau). It's nice know that, at least in terms of internet access, I'm much closer to Jamaica (3,877 per 10,000) than to East Timor (nine per 10,000).

I am making my spreadsheet available for anyone who wants to work with it and analyze the rankings more closely. I began placing a continent tag on each country, since there are interesting ways to analyze this data continent by continent. My current continent tagging is rudimentary, and if I were to work any further on it, I would create separate tags for the Middle East, the West Indies and the Pacific Islands. As it stands, countries in these sections of the world are simply placed in Asia, North America or Asia, respectively.

So best of luck to anyone who wants to play around with this data. Whatever you do with it, keep me posted via e-mail; because I'm in Moldova and not Liberia (three users per 10,000 people), I'm 300 times more likely to receive your e-mails.


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