Senior researchers: Peter Lyman and Hal R. Varian

Project coordinator: Kirsten Swearingen

Researchers: Peter Charles, Nathan Good, Laheem Lamar Jordan, Joyojeet Pal

This study is an attempt to estimate how much new information is created each year. Newly created information is distributed in four storage media print, film, magnetic, and optical and seen or heard in four information flows telephone, radio and TV, and the Internet. This study of information storage and flows analyzes the year 2002 in order to estimate the annual size of the stock of new information contained in storage media, and heard or seen each year in information flows. Where reliable data was available we have compared the 2002 findings to those of our 2000 study (which used 1999 data) in order to identify trends recognizing that 1999-2002 were years of relatively low economic activity. The 2000 study is located on the Web at How Much Information? 2000. Note that this the 2003 study has revised certain of the 1999 estimates when we have found new and better data sources.

Our findings are reported on this web page in three levels of detail.

  1. Those wanting to see the key conclusions of the study, look at the Summary of Findings.
  2. Those wanting a summary of the findings with tables presenting the key numeric estimates, read the Executive Summary.
  3. Those wanting detailed discussion of sources, methodologies and working assumptions about how we made our estimates, please click on one of the Stored Information (Paper, Film, Magnetic, Optical ) and Information Flow (Broadcasting, Telephony, Internet) sections on the tabs at the top of this page.

Or download the entire Web site as a PDF file. (It is about 100 pages long.)

This study was produced by faculty and students at the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from Microsoft Research, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and EMC. We have put "[???]" in the text where we had to make working assumptions when reliable data was not available. If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please send e-mail to We view this as a "living document" and intend to update it based on such contributions. Preferred citation: Lyman, Peter and Hal R. Varian, "How Much Information", 2003. Retrieved from on [date].






Release date: October 27, 2003. © 2003 Regents of the University of California