Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

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Fact Sheet

January 12, 2017

Social Media Fact Sheet

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    Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves. Explore the patterns and trends shaping the social media landscape over the past decade below.

    Social media use over time

    When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one of these platforms. By 2011 that share had risen to half of all Americans, and today 69% of the public uses some type of social media.

    U.S. adults
    3/21/2005 5%
    12/8/2005 8%
    8/31/2006 11%
    5/11/2008 21%
    8/10/2008 26%
    8/31/2008 25%
    12/4/2008 27%
    12/20/2008 26%
    4/19/2009 36%
    9/14/2009 37%
    12/27/2009 42%
    1/19/2010 43%
    5/30/2010 48%
    9/13/2010 46%
    11/24/2010 45%
    11/28/2010 46%
    12/21/2010 47%
    5/22/2011 50%
    8/26/2011 50%
    2/19/2012 53%
    8/7/2012 59%
    12/9/2012 54%
    5/19/2013 61%
    7/14/2013 60%
    9/30/2013 63%
    1/26/2014 62%
    7/12/2015 65%
    11/6/2016 69%

    Pew Research Center

    Who uses social media

    As more Americans have adopted social media, the social media user base has also grown more representative of the broader population. Young adults were among the earliest social media adopters and continue to use these sites at high levels, but usage by older adults has increased in recent years.

    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Education
    • Community

    Which social media platforms are most popular

    Facebook is the most-widely used of the major social media platforms, and its user base is most broadly representative of the population as a whole. Smaller shares of Americans use sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

    Facebook Pinterest Instagram LinkedIn Twitter
    8/5/2012 54% 10% 9% 16% 13%
    8/7/2012 14%
    12/9/2012 13% 11% 13%
    12/16/2012 57%
    5/19/2013 15%
    7/14/2013 16%
    9/16/2013 57% 17% 14% 17% 14%
    9/30/2013 16%
    1/26/2014 16%
    9/21/2014  58% 22% 21% 23% 19%
    4/12/2015 62% 26% 24% 22% 20%
    4/4/2016 68% 26% 28% 25% 21%

    Pew Research Center

    Who uses each social media platform

    Usage of the major social media platforms varies by factors such as age, gender and educational attainment.

    % of U.S. adults who use each social media platform

    Facebook Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn Twitter
    Total 68% 28% 26% 25% 21%
    Men 67% 23% 15% 28% 21%
    Women 69% 32% 38% 23% 21%
    Ages 18-29 88% 59% 36% 34% 36%
    30-49 79% 31% 32% 31% 22%
    50-64 61% 13% 24% 21% 18%
    65+ 36% 5% 9% 11% 6%
    High school or less 56% 19% 18% 9% 14%
    Some college 77% 35% 31% 25% 24%
    College graduate 77% 32% 33% 49% 28%
    Less than $30,000 65% 29% 23% 16% 18%
    $30,000-$49,999 68% 27% 27% 11% 16%
    $50,000-$74,999 70% 30% 29% 30% 26%
    $75,000+ 76% 30% 34% 45% 30%
    Urban 70% 34% 26% 29% 22%
    Suburban 68% 24% 29% 26% 21%
    Rural 65% 25% 20% 15% 19%

    Note: Race/ethnicity breaks not shown due to sample size.
    Source: Survey conducted March 7-April 4, 2016.

    Pew Research Center

    How often Americans use social media sites

    For many users, social media is part of their daily routine. Roughly three-quarters of Facebook users – and around half of Instagram users – visit these sites at least once a day.

    Platform Less often Weekly Daily
    Facebook 7% 15% 76%
    Instagram 22% 26% 51%
    Twitter 33% 24% 42%
    Pinterest 43% 31% 25%
    LinkedIn 51% 31% 18%

    Pew Research Center

    Find out more

    Follow these links for more in-depth analysis of the impact of social media on American life.

    Social Media Update 2016 Nov. 11, 2016
    The Political Environment on Social Media Oct. 25, 2016
    Social Media Usage: 2005-2015 Oct. 8, 2015

    All reports and blog posts related to social media