The first households were supplied with electricity in the 1880s (from wikipedia). I think by around 1950 most urban households in the US had electricity. Rural households got there a few years later? The situation in Western Europe was similar? How electrified was Germany before and after world war II? Essentially I'm looking for charts showing the proportion of households with electric power over time for various regions in the world and my googling didn't provide anything useful beyond the wikipedia article.

2 Answers 2


In Europe the situation, for most countries, was different.

Gas and Electricity development was something that was developed on a local level.

Berlin, Germany

For street lighting, Electricity replaced Gas rather swiftly after 1884.

1895 steetcars were electrified and after 1902 the underground system being build also used electricity.

For households, starting around 1890, gas was primarily used for ovens as a replacement for coal or wood. Even in the 1930's, electric ovens were still unpopular.

Year Households with electricity in %
1910 3.5%
1914 5%
1925 25%
1929 50%

Until the 1930's, households used electricity primarily for lighting.

In 1928 only 3,5% used it for cooking appliances, 0.5% for washing machines and 0.2% for refrigerators.


  • Gas ovens are even now pretty common in Germany. In the UK, they are apparently even common in high-rise appartement blocks, but in Germany they seem to be confined to smaller houses. Gas ovens have a number of advantages over simple electrical stoves, e.g. more power and easier to regulate output. So IMHO mentioning gas here is a bit meaningless.
    – Jan
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:04
  • Is your table for % households that use electricity for cooking (in that case it is contradicted by numbers given in text below) or for % households that use electricity at all (in that case the preceding sentence gives the impression the table is about cooking)
    – Jan
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:07
  • And might be worth mentioning that coal/wood was also quite common for cooking.
    – Jan
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:22
  • 1
    @C Monsour: It's more that gas stoves are far more responsive when you want temperature changes. Electric stoves are slow to heat up and cool down. See the Cooking site for details.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 29, 2021 at 16:07
  • 1
    @EikePierstorff Most peaple don't make that distinction, they use whaever the GASAG (founded 1843) sends through the pipes. In western Berlin the switch between Stadtgas (Rauchgas) and Erdgas started in 1985 and was compleated in 1991. Any needed replacement oven/heaters were done during that period. Wenn neues Gas durch alte Rohre strömt - taz.de Apr 29, 2021 at 20:48

Just a data point, but according to this German wp article, only 11 percent of US farms had electricity in 1934, while the share of farms with electricity in Germany and France was around 90 percent at the same time.


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.