According to the most recent data from the World Bank, 15% of the world’s population—approximately 1.1 billion people—lacked access to electricity in 2014. However, access to electricity has been generally increasing over the past two decades. In 1994, approximately 25% of the world’s population lacked access to electricity.
Part of the increased share of access to electricity is attributable to the faster rate of population growth in urban areas; the share of the world’s population living in urban areas grew from 44% in 1994 to 53% in 2014. Urban areas tend to be more electrified, but most of the world’s population without access to electricity live in rural areas. In 2014, 27% of the world’s rural population did not have electricity access compared with 4% of urban populations.
The electrification rate grew the fastest from 1994 to 2014 in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. Investments to increase electricity access have significant implications for economic development and quality of life as well as the energy consumption and energy-related emissions for each country.
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