Global insights of DQL 2023
Rankings of the DQL index and its 5 pillars. Select a tab to explore.
Europe continues to lead in digital quality of life.
9 out of 10 countries with the highest DQL are in Europe. Furthermore, only 19 countries out of the top 50 are located outside of Europe.
Globally the internet is getting more affordable.
Compared to last year, people have to work 11% (42 min) less to afford fixed broadband internet in 2023. Mobile internet is also more affordable — people have to work 26% (41 minutes) less than they did in 2022. This might indicate that internet prices have not yet caught up with inflation, as salaries have increased by almost 10%.
Countries that invest in improving their e-government are most likely to improve their whole DQL index.
This is because out of the 5 pillars, e-government had the strongest correlation with the DQL index (0.94). E-infrastructure had the second-highest correlation with the DQL index at 0.91. In contrast, internet affordability demonstrated the lowest correlation — 0.67.
Money doesn’t always buy digital happiness:
Western Europe is a clear leader in the DQLi — it is also the wealthiest sub-region in the world;
Despite Northern Europe’s 15% lower GDP per capita*, it outperforms Northern America in the DQLi;
Western Asia's GDP per capita is 38% higher than the global average, but its DQLi falls below the global average.
*GDP per capita measures the monetary value of final goods and services produced in a country per person in a given year and is used to indicate wealth and prosperity.
Some countries have a better digital quality of life despite their lower GDP per capita.
- 22 countries — India, Philippines, Vietnam, Ukraine, Moldova, Colombia, Thailand, Peru, Brazil, Serbia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, China, Argentina, Bulgaria, Russia, Chile, Romania, Poland, Croatia, Hungary — out of 121 exceed the expected digital quality of life by demonstrating higher levels of e-security, e-infrastructure, and e-government;
- These three pillars have a stronger correlation with the DQLi than GDP per capita. This indicated the possibility of elevating global digital wellbeing with fewer resources and more focused strategic planning.
Fixed broadband is significantly less affordable than mobile internet.
The cheapest fixed broadband internet costs around 6 hours of work per month;
The cheapest mobile broadband internet costs around 2 hours of work per month.
Some people have to work for two weeks just to afford the internet.
In Zimbabwe (the country with the least affordable fixed internet), people have to work 12 times (72h 39min) more than the global average (5h 59min) to afford a monthly subscription.
The poorest countries work the most for low-quality internet, while wealthy countries enjoy high-quality internet at an affordable price.
Over 40% of the countries examined have unaffordable and low-quality internet—the average GDP per capita in these countries is 4 times lower than the global average of $20.4k. Meanwhile, countries with high-quality and affordable internet tend to have a much higher GDP per capita.
There is a major divide between countries at the top and the bottom of the internet quality pillar.
For instance, Venezuela's mobile internet speed (10.5Mbps) is only 3.4% of the United Arab Emirates (310Mbps). The situation with fixed internet is very similar — Yemen, with the world's slowest fixed internet (10.8Mbps), performs at only 3.6% compared to Singapore, with the fastest (300Mbps).
Once again, Singapore and the UAE lead in internet speed.
Singapore has the fastest fixed internet for the third year in a row, while the UAE has the fastest mobile internet for the second year in a row. Last year, the UAE's mobile internet speed exceeded Singapore's fixed internet speed, and it remains higher still. Moreover, speed is improving at very high rates in the UAE (average growth is 12Mbps/month), which indicates successful 5G adoption.
Mobile internet is generally less stable than fixed internet.
70% of the analyzed countries enjoy stable fixed internet. However, only 46% can say the same about their mobile data;
Ethiopia appears in the bottom 10 countries for both mobile and fixed internet stability, which comes as no surprise as the country is well-known for its internet restrictions. In 2023 alone, Ethiopia’s government has restricted Facebook and YouTube. Moreover, it's been restricting network connectivity in the Tigray region since 2020.
E-infrastructure signifies high inequality globally.
Internet penetration is an essential component of the e-infrastructure pillar, and it differs greatly across nations — in the 10 highest-ranking countries in e-infrastructure, 96% of people use the internet. On the other hand, only 26% of people use the internet in the 10 lowest-ranking countries.
Economic wealth plays a crucial role in e-infrastructure growth, but its impact has its limits.
Up to the threshold of 8k USD, the influence of GDP per capita on e-infrastructure is significant but starts to slow down beyond that point. Once GDP per capita exceeds 35k USD, e-infrastructure improvement stagnates. This may be due to technological limitations and other factors that have a higher impact on e-infrastructure development than GDP per capita.
Some countries have a lower GDP per capita but commendable e-infrastructure.
26 countries examined in the DQLi have a lower than average GDP but higher than average e-infrastructure.
- 9 countries are from Asia
- 9 are from Europe
- 6 are from South America
- 2 are from North America
For the third year in a row, the EU leads in e-security.
The top 10 countries in e-security are from the European Union. Their remarkable e-security average (92%) is almost double the global average. They are also at the forefront of implementing cybersecurity policies to safeguard people’s personal data.
Countries with better e-infrastructure are more equipped to prevent cyber threats and incidents.
Countries with higher e-infrastructure tend to have higher e-security (correlation 0.72) compared to those with weaker e-infrastructure.
Autocratic countries exhibit a lack of intent to protect their citizens' data.
- Only 1 out of 52 of analyzed autocratic countries surpasses the global average of data protection — Hungary. This can be explained by the fact that Hungary is an EU member and is subject to the GDPR;
- In contrast, 1 in 2 democratic countries have higher than average data protection levels.
- Democratic nations have an average data protection level of 0.63, while autocratic countries lag significantly behind with an average of 0.21 (more than two times lower than the global average).
Singapore and the United States have the most advanced electronic government due to especially high AI-readiness.
The United States, which has led in the e-government pillar for the last two years, gave up its position to Singapore. Singapore jumped up to 1st place by improving its readiness to implement AI in the delivery of public services.
Countries with the highest readiness to adopt AI technology are also ready to counter national cyber threats.
19 of the top 20 countries in AI readiness also have a higher-than-average cybersecurity index. The only exception here is China;
China, compared to last year, has improved its National Cybersecurity Index but it still falls short in cybercrime prevention and cybersecurity policy development.
Governments with established, easily accessible online services are better prepared to implement AI in the public services sector.
There is a very strong correlation (0.87) between Online Service and AI Readiness indexes. Overall, North America leads in the e-government pillar with a 45% higher regional index than the global average (0.64).