Week 5 Challenge: How does Wikimedia meet our current and future readers’ needs as the world undergoes significant population shifts in the next 15 years?
Key insight 1
As the world population undergoes major shifts, the Wikimedia movement has an opportunity to help improve the knowledge available in more places and to more people. The continent of Africa is expected to have a 40% increase in population, along with improved internet access and literacy rates in the next 15 years. Spanish is expected to become the second most common language within 35 years. As new cultures and geographies become more dominant, the Wikimedia projects as they currently exist may be less relevant for the majority of the world’s population.
The insight above is based on the movement strategy research paper, Considering 2030: Demographic Shifts – How might Wikimedia extend its reach by 2030?
Key highlights from the report
- Global population is shifting: By 2030, the global population projections are expected to reach 8.4 billion people (15% increase). While populations in Europe are expected to plateau, and the Americas will only have moderate growth (128 million more people), Africa is forecasted to increase by 40% – a total of 470 million more people.[5 1]
- The population is aging: The median age is expected to rise from 29.6 to 33 years old. Africa will continue to be the youngest median age (moving from 19.6 years old to 21.4 years old).[5 1]
- The global workforce is changing: The workforce is expected to reduce, as the percentage of the population aged 15-64 decreases. Attributed to decreased fertility, Europe and Northern America are predicted to undergo substantial decreases in their workforce population proportions, dropping approximately 5-6%.[5 2] Currently 25% of Japan’s population is over the age of 65, compared to 15% in the U.S.[5 3] To combat this issue, Japan has raised its working age above 65. By 2050, 32 other countries will have 25% of their populations over 65, so they may likely follow suit.[5 4]
- Education levels are increasing: The world will become increasingly more educated with the proportion of literate people rising from 83% to 90% between 2015 and 2030. Africa will have the highest increase in literacy, rising from 62% (2015) to 80% (2030). Asia will increase its literacy rates by 7%, from 83% (2015) to 90% (2030). Europe and Northern America will retain their high literacy rates (99-100%).[5 5]
- By 2050, Spanish moves from the fourth to the second most common language: Researchers expect the most common languages in the world to be Mandarin (#1), Spanish (#2), English (#3), Hindi (#4), and Arabic (#5). English is projected to move from the second to the third most common language by 2050.[5 6]
Key insight 2
According to recent research, readers in seven of our most active countries have little understanding of how Wikipedia works, is structured, is funded, and how content is created. This is especially true among 13-19 year olds. The research also found that readers mainly consider utility (usefulness), readability, and ‘free knowledge for every person,’ the most important attributes of Wikipedia. They associate Wikipedia least strongly with “neutral, unbiased content” and “transparency.” This represents an opportunity to increase brand awareness and knowledge.
This insight is based on the recent Brand awareness, attitudes, and usage research study. This survey was fielded in France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the US via an online survey accessible on a PC, laptop, or device (tablet, smartphone).
Key excerpts from the research
- Across the seven countries, close to 80% of internet users are aware of Wikipedia when shown the logo. Spain has the highest awareness (89%) and Japan has the lowest (64%).
- When asked “when you want to find information online what three websites do you go to most often,” Google (85% on average) is the top answer followed by Wikipedia (45%), YouTube (43%), Yahoo! (19%) and Facebook (17%).
- Overall, 20% first found out about Wikipedia on the internet and 20% through school. There are generational differences, though: 35% of 13-19 year old internet users say they first heard about it in school, while 73% of 36-49 year old internet users say online.
- Across all seven countries, internet users that are aware of Wikipedia associate it most strongly with “free knowledge for every person” (8.5 out of 10) and “useful” (8.3 out of 10). They associate Wikipedia least strongly with “neutral, unbiased content” (7.0) and “transparency” (6.9). There are strong generational differences, with 13-19 year olds giving Wikipedia lower association scores on most attributes.
- When asked what is most important to those internet users that are aware of Wikipedia, the highest attributes are “useful,” “free knowledge for every person” and “easy to read.” What’s least important is “transparency” and “free of advertising.”
- Across generations there is also broad agreement that “more trustworthy content” (57%), “higher quality content” (51%), “more neutral content” (44%), and “more visual content” (41%) would enhance their personal experience “a lot.”
- Proportionately, Wikipedia finds its strongest audience in Spain where 91% of internet users 13-49 are aware of it and 89% read it. This compares to the average of internet users across all countries, 84.1% are aware of it and 81.1% read it.
- By country, 75% of Wikipedia readers in Russia and 73% in Spain read Wikipedia weekly or more. Twenty-four percent of Russian and Spanish readers read daily. The lowest weekly readership is found in Japan and the UK (60% of readers each).
- Overall, about half of Wikipedia readers access the site “often” from a desktop or laptop, or a smartphone. Readers ages 13-35 are much more likely to say they access Wikipedia often from a smartphone, and readers 13-19 years old are the most likely to say they often access Wikipedia through a service such as Siri or Alexa (21% of 13-19 year olds vs. 10% of 36-49 year olds).
For more information, please read the complete preliminary executive summary.
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Note: Community feedback will be shared with the drafting team. It will also be used for future considerations as we face and solve these challenges.
- ↑ a b "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision". United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Accessed 2017-06-15
- ↑ Lee, Ronald, and Andrew Mason. “The Price of Maturity: Aging Populations Mean Countries Have to Find New Ways to Support Their Elderly.” Finance & Development 48.2 (2011): Pages 6–11.
- ↑ Schlesinger, Jacob M.; Martin, Alexander. "Graying Japan Tries to Embrace the Golden Years". Wall Street Journal. November 29, 2015. Accessed 2017-06-15.
- ↑ Rodionova, Zlata. "Japan’s Elderly Keep Working Well Past Retirement Age". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-15
- ↑ “Country Profiles”. International Futures, Pardee Center. Accessed June 25, 2017.
- ↑ Graddol, David. “The Future of English: A guide to forecasting the popularity of the English language in the 21st century”. Accessed June 24, 2017