Internet Governance Glossary


5.5 Digital divide

Differences between countries with different levels of information and communication technology (ICT) development.


The digital divide exists not only for technical reasons, but also for political, social, or economic reasons at different levels and for an array of aspects, such as:

  • within countries and between countries,
  • between rural and urban populations,
  • between the old and the young,
  • between men and women.

It refers to a “gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities”. (OECD 2001)