Demographics: Social Networking And Social Media Users

Filed under: Social Media |

Highlights of the Pew Internet Project’s research related to social networking.

See also: Facebook Vacations: Coming And Going On Facebook

As of December 2012, 67% of online adults use social networking sites.

social networking user demographics

As of December 2012:

  • 15% of online adults say they use Pinterest
  • 13% of online adults say they use Instagram
  • 6% of online adults say they use Tumblr
  • 67% of online adults say they use Facebook
  • 16% of online adults say they use Twitter

20% of online adults say they use LinkedIn as of August 2012.

For a detailed demographic portrait of users of various social networking sites (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter) please see our recent report,  The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012 .

Women have been significantly more likely to use social networking sites than men since 2009. In December 2012, 71% of women were users of social networking sites, compared with 62% of men.

Between February 2005 and August 2006, the use of social networking sites among young adult internet users ages 18-29 jumped from 9% to 49%.

Social networking site use by age group, over time:

Social networking site use by age group

Click here to download a spreadsheet of the above data.


The growing ubiquity of cell phones, especially the rise of smartphones, has made social networking just a finger tap away.  Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so on a typical day.  Young people, blacks, Hispanics, the highly educated and those with a higher annual household income are more likely to use SNS on their phones than other groups.

social networking on mobile phones

The Social Impact Of Social Media

Do social networking sites isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? In November 2010, we examined SNS in a survey that explored people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, community, and political engagement, and found:

  • Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties
  • The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American
  • Facebook users are more trusting than others
  • Facebook users have more close relationships
  • Internet users get more support from their social ties and Facebook users get the most support
  • Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people
  • Facebook revives “dormant” relationships
  • MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view

For more specific information on our findings on the social impact of technology, please see and

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