Energy

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.

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 2016..

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.

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.

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%.

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.