I had a request from one of our staff to change the forms to not require the email address because a single person (out of probably 1000 applicants) cannot submit the form because, apparently, that single person does not have an email address.

Is it safe to assume that everyone has an email address now?

Related : How do I determine if I should go through a change that would affect the users both positively and negatively?

  • 2
    Isn't the answer to your question in your question? Clearly even with your own data, the answer is no, it's not safe to assume that
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 4:03
  • It kind of bothers me that everything and everyone else requires email addresses, so if that person pays bills, has a phone, or even has a facebook account, he/she should have an email address.
    – Zaenille
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 4:06
  • is your service internet related? do people access your service using a website? Then yes, it's safe to assume users have an email. There could be exceptions, but I'd bet whatever amount of money that it's not 1/1000, more like 1/1000000. The whole "let's get back to stone age" approach in UX is ridiculous, you're building a web service, then anyone using at least the most common apps/services has an email. Heck, most people have an ISP mail by default, it comes with their internet service!
    – Devin
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 21:57
  • Can you provide more information what this is for? What do people log into there? The answer will be very different for a government form where people are expected to sign up for financial support than it will be for a site that acts as a secondary spam filter.
    – uliwitness
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 12:34
  • Are we considering the fact that email is inherently unsecure as well as anything else via the internet? Plus anything transmitted on the internet may go through insecure servers and collected by data collectors and monetized. The issue is now exponential more challenging with the advance of artificial intelligence.
    – Juan
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 17:17

5 Answers 5


I don't believe the question as posed is the correct way of thinking about the issue. Rather than asking if everybody has an email address now, (and the answer is self evidently no), the question you should consider is:

Do you require an email address?

If your form is for a service in which communication (invoices, receipts etc) will be emailed to people, then by definition an email address is required, so it is reasonable to require it.

If your service does not require an email address to work; the customer can receive physical mail, SMS messages or simply does not need to receive communication other than within the service, then don't force the customer to enter an email address. You can ask and supply hints like

'you have not entered an email address; please note that we won't be able to XYZ you'

Even if everybody in the world did have an email address, people may choose not to supply one if they feel that it is not required for your company or service. You have to accept that, or people will just supply dummy address information anyway.

  • although this isn't really answering the question and goes for something else instead, this is a nice answer. But again, not answering the question, should probably be a comment. So +1 for nice answer, but try to keep within the question unless the OP asks for an alternative (which he didn't)
    – Devin
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 21:53

Just came across this and would like to say that many poor and illiterate families do not have access to email. Neither do many immigrants. I used to assume "everybody" had email, but after working with a population of underserved citizens, I can tell you that no, not everybody has access to email.

  • It probably is more related to socioeconomics than age.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 6:58

Everyone? Literally everyone? Your mother, your brother, your gran, your 2 year old nephew? As you know that is obviously a no, I doubt you meant that. But that you clearly don't mean it literally does raise the question:

What is it you mean by 'everyone'?

What is your target audience?

If you're targeting digitally adept 20-somethings with some sort of an application that connects with facebook...then yes, it is probably a fairly safe assumption that pretty much everyone has an email address.

If you're looking at the general public as a whole though...Then there are a lot of adults who don't have an email address. Even many who have no trouble using the internet as part of their daily life. In my studies I've came across a lot of people like this. They're generally a little bit older, 40/50+, and as far as account-driven sites are concerned they stick to only one or two (facebook and amazon are the usual). Often they technically have an email address (set up for them usually), but never use it and have totally forgot how to access it. Other times they merely borrowed the email address of a more digital relative to sign up.

Grant's point about considering whether you actually need it or not is also very valid. When people are asked to enter their email address there is a little bit of a recoil and a push away from signing up, a sort of "Uh oh, here comes more spam" or "Great, so now I'll have to go and check for one of those confirmation emails, pfff".

  • now this is a sensible answer: many people has email accounts yet they don't use them and/or forgot their user or pass. Totally agreed.
    – Devin
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 22:00

While inferring alright, I think it is safe to assume that the percentage of people around the globe who do have internet access but don't have an email is minute.


I have three email addresses, but if I'm TOLD I must supply an email, which is not necessary, I submit - "[email protected]" and it always goes through. By the way I know many people who don't have email, mobile phone, or facebook and most are younger than me!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.