Published on Data Blog

Are cell phones becoming more popular than toilets?

The percentage of people with cell phone subscriptions is now higher than those using sanitation services. In 2000, only 12% of the global population had mobile phone subscriptions. In 2015, the rate is near 97% — a trend consistent across world regions.[1]

These increases in cell phone users far exceed the number of people using at least basic sanitation services, which encompass improved sanitation facilities that are not shared with other households.[2] In 2015, approximately 70% of the global population used at least basic sanitation services — a rate that only increased by 10 percentage points in the last 15 years.[3]

Access to sanitation services is critical to reducing diarrheal disease and can significantly lessen the adverse health impacts of other disorders responsible for death and disease among millions of children. For more information on global and region trends on sanitation, see the 2018 Sustainable Development Goal Atlas.


[2] Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)


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