Average person consumes 34GB of data daily

Data comes in different forms – text, photos, and videos coming from TV, print, radio and online. And with the popularity of the web, people from around the world are hungry for information – be it politics, sports, business, entertainment and health, people need information. So just how much data do we consumed every day?

According to a report entitled “How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers,” released by the University of California, San Diego, U.S. households consumed approximately 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. One zettabyte is 1,000,000,000 trillion bytes, and total bytes consumed last year were the equivalent of the information in thick paperback novels stacked seven feet high over the entire United States, including Alaska.

The How Much Information? project is creating a census of the world’s information in 2008. The study measured information consumed by U.S. consumers in and outside the home for non-work related reasons, and included the gamut of information sources, including going to the movies, listening to the radio, talking on the cell phone, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and reading the newspaper, among other things.

According to the report, the average American’s information consumption of 34 gigabytes a day is the equivalent of about one fifth of a notebook computer’s hard drive, depending on the model. The new report estimates that between 1980 and 2008, bytes consumed increased 350 percent, for an average annual growth rate of 5.4 percent.

Hourly statistics confirm that a large chunk of the average American’s day is spent watching television. The new report estimates that on average 41 percent of information time is watching TV (including DVDs, recorded TV and real-time watching). American consumers watched 36 million hours of television on mobile devices each month – a number that, while expected to grow, is a fraction of the hours spent watching television at home.

Based on bytes alone, however, computer games are the biggest information source totaling 18.5 gigabytes per day for the average American consumer, or about 67 percent of all bytes consumed. Approximately 80 percent of the population plays some kind of computer game, including casual games such as Bookworm, Tetris and social networking games.

Americans spent 16 percent of their information hours using the Internet (second only to TV’s 41 percent). With the proliferation of email, instant messaging and social networking, the Internet today dominates two-way communications, with more than 79 percent of those bytes every day. Despite rapid growth, consumption of new media such as YouTube videos, text messaging or games on smartphones is still outpaced by traditional media.

Looking to the future, the report point to current patterns of information consumption that will change the information landscape by 2015. In addition to the expected widespread use of HDTV, mobile television and video over the Internet have the potential to revolutionize where American consumers receive their visual information. According to the study, the 3.6 zettabytes of total information used by Americans in their homes far exceeds storage or transmission capacity.

For example, the total is roughly 20 times more than what can be stored at one time on all the hard drives in the world. Less than two percent of the total information was transmitted over the Internet.

Can you imagine that, 34GB of data daily. Does that make netizens obese? Diet diet people. God Bless us all!


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