Average household electricity use around the world

Average households electricity use

Do you know how much electricity your home uses each year?

If you do this post will let you see how you compare to the rest of the world.

Reducing the carbon footprint from your home’s power use is a theme we will post a lot on in the future.  As a primer for these posts we are going to look at how much electricity households use around the world, and what per person use is in different countries.

Average Household Electricity Use

About 80% of people in the world have access to electricity.  This figure has increased in the last decade, mainly due to increasing urbanization.  But despite the fact that more and more people are getting access to electricity we use very different amounts of it.

Using data from the World Energy Council we can compare how much electricity the average electrified household uses in different countries.

Average Household Electricity UseAcross the countries we chose to compare household electricity use varies enormously.  The average American or Canadian household in 2010 used about twenty times more than the typical Nigerian household, and two to three times more than a typical European home.

In the US typical household power consumption is about 11,700 kWh each year, in France it is 6,400 kWh, in the UK it is 4,600 kWh and in China around 1,300 kWh.  The global average electricity consumption for households with electricity was roughly 3,500 kWh in 2010.

There are numerous things that drive these differences, including wealth, physical house size, appliance standards, electricity prices and access to alternative cooking, heating and cooling fuels.

Perhaps the most surprising thing in this chart is that the global average is as high as 3,500 kWh/year, given that the figures for India and China are so low.  Two things explain this, household size and electrification rates.

In China about 99% of people have electricity and average household size is around 3.  In India these are 66% and 5 respectively  and in Nigeria 50% and 5.  Average household size in most wealthy countries is closer to 2.5 people.  As a result the distribution of electrified households is more skewed towards wealthy countries than population in general.

Home Electricity Use Per Person

By taking residential electricity use and dividing it by population we can look at how much electricity the average person uses at home in each country.  Unlike in our previous graph this chart takes in to account all the people in each country, so for places where electricity access is not universal the figures are lower.

Home Electricity Use Per Person


Although the graphs look very similar there are some striking differences.

Each American uses about 4,500 kWh per year in their home.  This is about six times that of the global average per capita, or more than five times the average for those who have electricity access.

The variation between developed countries is also quite stark.  While the US and Canada are up around 4,500 kWh per person the UK and Germany are below 2,000 kWh.  In Brazil, Mexico and China per person use is just 500 kWh, but growth is very different.  In Brazil residential use per person has been stable over the last 20 years, whereas in Mexico it is up 50% and in China it has increased 600%.

Where is yours like?

Our household electricity use has been 2,000 kWh each of the last few years, which means it is about 700 kWh per person.  We benefit from not using electricity for heating or cooling, although our electric oven is a big source of demand.

That makes us a Brazilian family, but global people ;-)

How do you stack up?


Related post: How do we use electricity?

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