Understanding access to the internet and its usage in Mexico.

Will Huang, Temo Ojeda, Isaac Ahn, and Jared Moore

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Why don't you have access to internet?


We (largely residents of the U.S.) likely take access to the internet for granted. Some do not have such privilege. Digital access determines a person’s ability to serve as a full member of society. The first step in improving access is determining those who donot have access.

The Insituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) began conducting special surveys on digital technologies in 2015 with the National Survey on Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Households (ENDUTIH). They believe that “it is essential to have statistics that are accurate, timely and with the widest possible geographical breakdown on” the development of access to information technology.

The people at INEGI aim to obtain information on the availability and use of information and communication technologies in households and their use by individuals aged 6 years and over in Mexico to generate statistical information on the subject and support the decision-making on public policy issues. It includes 103,000 housing units, distributed in 32 states and 49 selected cities and was conducted from May 6 to July 29, 2016.

INEGI’s work is great, but it is not enough. We aim to build on the work of INEGI, making their data more easily accessible and understandable through an interactive web visualization. We strive to go beyond a simple aggregation of the survey data to the state level and to also present individual survey responses – people. In this exploration we can illustrate the class and location differences in access while remaining true to each person.

"There isn't a connection to here"
"Maria" lives in Chiapas, one of the poorest Mexican states and near the Guatemalan border. Her town has fewer than 2500 residents. She's 28 and graduated from college. She lives with her husband (56) and her son (5) and daughter (0). Both Maria and her husband have used a cellphone in the last three months, but only she has used the internet.

"Juan" is 50. He lives with his wife (49), son (25), daughter-in-law (25), and their daughter (0). Both he and his wife finished high school, while his son and daughter-in-law graduated from college. They live in La Paz, Baja California Sur -- a city of 215,178 where the daily average wage is about 27 USD. Juan and his family all have used the internet, a computer (except his wife), and a cellphone in the last three months. Juan has internet in his house.

Both Juan and Maria have elecricity in their homes. Both live in houses with just their families. Both have analog tv, cell phones, and radios. Juan has a computer. Maria does not. Juan has access to internet. Maria does not. Juan is living the Mexican dream. Maria cannot.

Baja California Sur

From these two families, we can go to the state where each of them are from. First, let's anaylze Juan's family's state. Juan is from Baja Californa Sur, state with a population of 712 029 habitants, a population that represents 0.6% of the country's total population.

From this data, we know that 77% of the households in Baja California Sur are connected to the internet via some wired or mobile way. Moreover, from these households that are connected, the majority of them have a mobile internet connectivity, as well as having wired internet in their houses.

In more specifics about Baja California Sur to get to reason about its connectivity data, is that 86% of the total population lives in cities, while 14% lives in rural areas. In addition, the average scholarity is 9.9 years, which is almost a year above the national average. Moreover, of all the Households in the state, 85.6% count with water, and 98.4% have electricity.

Finally, even though the the state is mainly known for its tourist cities such as Cabo, the main economic driver of the state is Fishery and Minery, yielding 0.6% if the country's GDP.



Moving on from Juan, his family, and Baja California Sur, we have Maria. Maria and her famiy are from Chiapas, state in the southern part of Mexico. Chiapas has a total population of 5 217 908 habitants, which represents 4.4% of the country's total population.

From this data, we analyzed that roughly 33% of the households in Maria's state - Chiapas - have a form of internet connectivity. However, we can contrast this Chiapas data with Baja California Sur's data, and see that of the respondants, most of them only had wired internet, and a small portion had only mobile internet, or both types.

In more specifics about Chiapas to get to understand more about its internet connectivity data, we know that 49% of its habitants live in a city, while 51% live in rural areas. In addition, the average scholarity for the state is 7.3 years, which is almost 2 years less than the national average. Morever, of all the households in the state, 57.2% have water, and 97.5 % have electricity in their houses.

Finally, the state's main economic sector is commerce, being the production and distribution of agricultural crops and mining two of the largest industries in the state. Chiapas contributes 1.4% of Mexico's total GDP.

Internet Access Across the States of Mexico


Note that the proportions for access to and type of internet for each state come from a representatively sampled survey conducted by INEGI, a part of the Mexican government. A description of methods can be found here. Data is shown for 2016 only.