Most Active Countries on Stack Overflow

I tend to travel quite a bit. To kick off the year, I will be in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, London, Toronto, and I am sure many other spots as the year rolls on. With all of this travel, it made me wonder. What countries have the most developers and how active are those communities?

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One the most reliable sources for developer demographic information is Stack Overflow given the sheer number of developers on the site every month. So using site traffic as a proxy for developer population, what would you guess is the country that has the most traffic on Stack Overflow?

OK, this is probably not a hard one to figure out. It is the United States by a healthy margin. With 3.87 million professional software developers, this is not a surprise.

What would you guess is the second largest source of traffic? Again not a surprise to many given both the country’s sheer size and their rapid rise in the world of outsourced IT services over the past few decades. That would be India, the second most populated country in the world and by some estimated soon to overtake the US in number of software developers.

Here is the list of the top 10 most active countries based on unique user visits with percentage of overall traffic to the site across the 240 unique territories where developers visit Stack Overflow from:

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Traffic from the Top 30 most active countries using Stack Overflow accounts for 83% of all traffic across all territories. Breaking down the Top 30 from a regional perspective, APAC leads the pack in terms of usage with countries like Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia contributing to 34.4% of all traffic. North America is the second most active region with 33.2% of all usage, followed by EMEA at 27.4% of total usage.

Hiding out in all of this data however are some interesting insights. The most surprising one is that China is not higher in terms of usage. China is quickly rising in the number of software developers and by some accounts has more developers than Russia. However, it could be partially due to access issues in reaching Stack Overflow as well as Chinese specific sites being available.

Another interesting note is the rise of Asia with 12 countries in the top 30 sites. The use of outsourced software development, especially from other high-cost regions in Asia, continues to rise in countries such as Vietnam, Philippines, and Pakistan. With the rise of more regional startups and more freelance developers available online, we would expect to see the number of developers continue to rise rapidly, well ahead of EMEA or the Americas.

As an aside, the readership of our newsletter & blog represents 50 countries, so we are also quite international at this point. Thank you for your continued support of our work and mission to build great technology communities!

Are you wondering where your country stands on this list? How do you feel about the growth and activity of your countries’ developer community?

UPDATE AUG 2018

Since this post was originally published back in April 2018, there has been an interesting change in the data and positioning of country usage. Of course, August data can be a bit of a reality distortion field given the vacations people take during the summer months, especially in Europe and North America. Thus the overall usage of Stack Overflow tends to decrease. However there was an aggregate jump in usage across the board from Asian countries, with Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore contributing most to that increase. The biggest jump of all was in Thailand however, where I was on vacation when this post was written.

How does that play into the regional percentages? Using the Top 30 countries by traffic and categorizing by region (North American, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of World), we get the following percentages:

· Asia-Pacific — 38.5%

· North America — 32.9%

· Europe — 23.7%

· Rest of World — 5.0%

The Asia-Pacific region saw a huge upswing in usage with 14 countries in the region out of Top 30 visiting Stack Overflow. In that same period, Europe saw a significant decrease and North America saw a slight trail off in usage. Given the number of Europeans I saw in Thailand, perhaps that was where the spike in Stack Overflow usage came from 🤣

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Which two countries are the most distant from each other in terms of number of flight segments?

Oh the places you will go…

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Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, enterprise agility, community building & software engineering culture. Author 👉 https://twitter.com/marksbirch

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