The latest data released by Eurostat, suggests a considerable digital skills divide in the EU between those living in the city and those in rural areas, with Greece experiencing the highest divide along with Bulgaria, Croatia and Portugal.
According to the latest data, in 2019, the gap in digital skills between city-dwellers and people living in rural areas was, on average, 14 percentage points (pp) in the EU (as measured by the difference in relative shares of adults possessing basic or above basic digital skills). This digital divide in overall skills reached over 20 pp in seven EU Member States — Ireland (20 pp), Lithuania (21 pp), Hungary (22 pp) – peaking at 23 pp in Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Portugal.
Digital skills are considered essential for global competitiveness, boosting jobs and growth, while the internet can also play a vital role in terms of providing high-quality education and training.
In 2019, the overall level of digital skills in the EU was lowest among adults who were living in rural areas (48% had basic or above basic digital skills), rising to 55% for adults living in towns and suburbs, and peaking at 62% for adults living in cities.
This pattern — with the highest level of digital skills recorded for those adults living in cities — was repeated in all but two EU Member States, the exceptions being Belgium and Malta.
In 2018, 39.3% of the population lived in the cities, 31.6% lived in towns and suburbs, and 29.1% lived in rural areas.