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Report: Social network demographics in 2012

people social mashup

Do you know how old the average Twitter or Facebook user is? Do you know what share of Reddit’s users are women? We could go on and on; when it comes to social network demographics, the questions are endless. This article is going to answer those questions for you, showing you the age and gender distribution on 24 of today’s most popular social networks and online communities.

The sites included in this survey are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Hacker News, Slashdot, Github, Stack Overflow, Orkut, Quora, WordPress.com, Blogger, Flickr, Myspace, Tagged, Hi5, LiveJournal, Yelp, deviantART, StumbleUpon, Goodreads and Last.fm.

You may note one glaring omission: Google+. Unfortunately for us there is no data on Google+ in DoubleClick Ad Planner, the Google-owned tool we used for the demographics data. Another thing we should point out is that the demographics data used in this survey is for the United States.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the data!

Average age distribution

If you average the age distribution across all the sites in the survey, this here below is what you end up with. You could think of it as the age distribution in the social media sphere.

social network avg age distribution

More than half of these social media users are between 25 and 44 years old.

This, however, was just an average. When looking at the individual sites in this survey, there are considerable differences.

Age distribution per site

As we just mentioned, there are big differences in the age demographics of the individual sites. You can examine all of them in the chart here below.

We’ve sorted the chart by average age (more on that farther down), “youngest” site at the top.

social network age distribution

This chart should make something very clear; social media is most definitely not just for the young. Some examples:

  • 55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.
  • 63% of Pinterest users are 35 or older.
  • 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.
  • 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older.

However, as you could see in the very first chart of this article, only 2% of social media users are 65 or older (averaged between the sites in this survey).

There is also the flip side of the coin to consider; some sites have a considerable bias toward younger users. A few examples:

  • 58% of Reddit users are under 35.
  • 60% of Github users are under 35.
  • 63% of Hi5 users are under 35.
  • 69% of Hacker News users are under 35.
  • 69% of deviantART users are under 35.
  • 83% of Orkut users are under 35.

A couple of examples of sites with more homogenous user bases, age wise:

  • Hacker News has almost half of its users (44%) in the 18-24 age bracket.
  • Orkut on the other hand has a massive grouping of people aged 25-34. This is so large (76%) that we suspect it may be an anomaly in the Ad Planner data. None of the other sites display such extremes.
  • More than half of DeviantART’s users are below 25.

Average user age per site

Based on the sites in this survey, the estimated age of the average social media user is just under 37 years old. Here are some other observations:

  • The oldest users. LinkedIn has the oldest user base, with the average user being 44.2 years old.
  • The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.
  • The average Twitter user is 37.3 years old.
  • The age trend for Facebook and Twitter. Compared to a previous survey we did 2.5 years ago, the age of the average Facebook user has gone up two years, while the age of the average Twitter user has gone down two years. In other words, Twitter’s user base is getting younger, while Facebook’s is getting older.

And here is the full chart with all the sites, sorted by average age:

social network average age

What about gender?

This whole article so far has been about the age of people using these social networks and online communities. Now it’s time to examine the male-female ratio, or gender balance if you prefer that word.

Based on the United States demographics data (from Ad Planner) there is a clear gender imbalance on many of these sites. Some are much more male dominated, and vice versa. However, when you look at all the data together, it becomes clear that women rule social media. More than two thirds of the sites in this survey have more female than male users.

Other observations:

  • 17 out of 24 sites (71%) have more female than male users.
  • The average gender distribution is 48.75% male, 51.25% female.
  • Most male-dominated site? Slashdot (87% males) is the standout, followed by Hacker News (77% males) and Stack Overflow (76% males). In general, the more tech-focused sites in this survey have more male users than female.
  • Most female-dominated site? Pinterest (79% females) is in a league of its own, followed by Goodreads (70% females) and Blogger (66% females).
  • Facebook and Twitter have the same gender distribution: 40% male, 60% female.

Here below is a chart with the male-female ratios for all 24 sites included in this survey. The chart is sorted, the least male-dominated sites at the top.

social network gender distr

As you can see, the only sites in this survey with more male than female users are Quora, Reddit, Orkut, Github, Stack Overflow, Hacker News and Slashdot.

Final notes

We hope you found this report interesting. It’s easy to get lost when digging through this kind of data, but we hope we managed to present it in a way that gave you a decent overview of the situation today.

To us, one big takeaway from this report is that there’s a place for everyone in today’s social media landscape. These sites have users that span the entire age spectrum, and there really are no limits to what you can achieve online, regardless of age or gender.

A note on the source data: All the demographics data in this survey is for the United States, but the patterns shown here should translate roughly to other countries as well. That said, there are regional differences, so keep that in mind if you’re applying this to other parts of the world.

Previous surveys: We did a couple of similar surveys almost three years ago (age, gender), but the results are not easy to compare since a different set of sites were used (the social media landscape has changed).

Larger charts: Average age distribution, Age distribution per site, Average age per site, Gender distribution.

Image credit: Top image background via Shutterstock.



297 comments
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andri23bola

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socialpirate
socialpirate

Is the data behind the charts openly accessible? If yes, where can I find it?

socialpirate
socialpirate

Is the data behind the charts openly accessible? If yes, where can I find it?

TerriRoyce
TerriRoyce

Social media is more of a passive activity, so it appeals more to females than guys. Most guys would rather focus on active things (cars, computers, build companies - such as Facebook, play sports, etc).

TerriRoyce
TerriRoyce

Social media is more of a passive activity, so it appeals more to females than guys. Most guys would rather focus on active things (cars, computers, build companies - such as Facebook, play sports, etc).

bobos00
bobos00

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bobos00
bobos00

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personalized gifts
personalized gifts

So as I see most ppl are 20-34 with is normal. The big bum of internet start 20 years ago and most ppl form this time learn about computers a lot.

cazarevacanta
cazarevacanta

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missponce1
missponce1

Have you guys taken into account the fact that some websites like Facebook require users to be at least 18 years of age so many underage users lie about their age so they can have access? I have cousins who are 12 and 13 who have had Facebook accounts for at least the past two years....

missponce1
missponce1

Have you guys taken into account the fact that some websites like Facebook require users to be at least 18 years of age so many underage users lie about their age so they can have access? I have cousins who are 12 and 13 who have had Facebook accounts for at least the past two years....

MiamiLuxCondos
MiamiLuxCondos

Well presented, very valuable data. I know there are tons of fake users on some sites like Twitter, Facebook. I would like to have the data of sites with unique IPs traffic (users), and what country origin of users. I know some users connect thru their local are network but the data will still give us some info about the quality of the traffic.

MichaelBaloy
MichaelBaloy

Good evening Pingdom! First of all I want to thank you for this blog post. It is a big help for our thesis because we are dealing with OSN stats. 

Anyway, I just want to inquire if you have a definitive ratio as to how many likes are equivalent to a share? Or even just the average number of likes and shares per post, average number of facebook fans, friends, and other stuffs like that?

Thank you very much and more power! 

Michael Baloy, Philippines

 

MichaelBaloy
MichaelBaloy

Good evening Pingdom! First of all I want to thank you for this blog post. It is a big help for our thesis because we are dealing with OSN stats.  Anyway, I just want to inquire if you have a definitive ratio as to how many likes are equivalent to a share? Or even just the average number of likes and shares per post, average number of facebook fans, friends, and other stuffs like that? Thank you very much and more power!  Michael Baloy, Philippines

MakeLogoBigger
MakeLogoBigger

Amazing collection and presentation of facts... really helpful

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets I think it's the term "dominated" that bothers me. Reddit has a better gender balance than entire industries.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets I think it's the term "dominated" that bothers me. Reddit has a better gender balance than entire industries.

LStacey
LStacey

@danieldoherty Thanks. I'll stick 'em in the pile.

mzkwrx
mzkwrx

 @missponce1 Facebook allows users as young as 13 (not 18) to have accounts. Although I'm aware of kids as young as 11 with accounts, my knowledge is only personal experience and not a large sample like I'm sure these studies were based on.

Pingdom
Pingdom moderator

 @missponce1 Thanks for the comment. That's not supported in the data we based this article on. You can read more about that in the article.

mzkwrx
mzkwrx

@missponce1 Facebook allows users as young as 13 (not 18) to have accounts. Although I'm aware of kids as young as 11 with accounts, my knowledge is only personal experience and not a large sample like I'm sure these studies were based on.

Pingdom
Pingdom

@missponce1 Thanks for the comment. That's not supported in the data we based this article on. You can read more about that in the article.

Pingdom
Pingdom moderator

 @MichaelBaloy Thank you Michael. Unfortunately we do not have the information you're looking for.

Pingdom
Pingdom

@MichaelBaloy Thank you Michael. Unfortunately we do not have the information you're looking for.

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

.@dakami That's fair - I just meant more than others, doing some audience targeting for a magazine app that has stuff like GQ and Esquire.

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

.@dakami That's fair - I just meant more than others, doing some audience targeting for a magazine app that has stuff like GQ and Esquire.

maxmate
maxmate

@mzkwrx  @missponce1 in fact,18 years old permit.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets Conversational sites tend to be more male dominated than (successful) social networks.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets ah, my apologies. That's a much more reasonable context.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets Conversational sites tend to be more male dominated than (successful) social networks.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets ah, my apologies. That's a much more reasonable context.

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

@dakami it's interesting that 'more conversational' sites would have more males - we tend to assume the opposite for real life situations.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets great quote, learned at $UNNAMED_SOCIAL_NETWORK: "Guys will go where the girls are. The inverse is not true."

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

.@dakami No worries! Thanks for the feedback though - I should be more aware of my usage of hyperbole and superlatives.

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

@dakami it's interesting that 'more conversational' sites would have more males - we tend to assume the opposite for real life situations.

dakami
dakami

@krystha_tweets great quote, learned at $UNNAMED_SOCIAL_NETWORK: "Guys will go where the girls are. The inverse is not true."

krystha_tweets
krystha_tweets

.@dakami No worries! Thanks for the feedback though - I should be more aware of my usage of hyperbole and superlatives.