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.

141 comments

    1. @Pinaatje dank je wel! Dat bikkelen valt best mee hoor. … doe momenteel niet de afstanden die jij deze dagen klokt :-)

  1. If you would like to see more and very detailed statistics about the Facebook demographics, you should surely use the Socialbakers’ tool Market Insights http://market.socialbakers.com where you can see advanced statistics and overview of top interests and demographics, monitor the growing size of your target audience, gain valuable insights into current audience characteristics and harness this data to identify new target audiences for Facebook advertising campaigns. Moreover, you can compare local vs. global markets, follow audience statistics in an easy-to-understand dashboard that correlates demographics, trends and top interests based on user activity across the Facebook community and customize your own market to market comparisons. Try it, it’s been really helpful for me.
     

    1. @jkbockstael je ne pisse pas sur hacker news pour autant, mais bon, captain obvious sait que Internet = auberge espagnole

  2. The reason for this is because many tech blog sites such as hackernews typically shadowban femail participants, tech boys don’t want girls in their tree house aka misogyny

    1.  @donnaware I agree tech communities can be insular or fawn over “look guys a girl” too much to the point of treating them very differently, but I’ve never heard of any banning like you say going on.

  3. @jonbecker I don’t trust any statistical data that doesn’t explain its methods. It’s hard for me to guess whole stats at this point.

    1. @TweetsfromSara One of my coworkers said he thinks it’s because of all of the parents signing up to monitor their kids FB accounts. Perhaps?

  4. @moongift 若い方ほど、GitHubを嗜んでいるということなんですね!これの日本人の年齢別利用率のデータが知りたくなってきます

  5. Interesting is to see how active the different age groups are on the social network. I can imagine that the younger age groups are more active on Facebook. Something to look at in the next survey?

  6. @ru_Parallels @jelastic @MarinaSprava в соцсети под названием)) шашлык за городом))) вместе со всеми друзьями и лайками!)))

  7. @WonZeeeeee @pingdom 오 신기한 자료네요. 미국에서 수업 때 모니터보면 90%넘게가 페이스북이었는데 18-24의 비중이 저정도밖에 안되다니!

    1. @unbing @pingdom user # 점유율은 이럴수있어도 트래픽 점유율 열어보면 역시나 engagement가 큰 18-24 가 꽤 지배적일듯요 ㅋㅋ

  8. @antiprodukt @Mahriah wo sind die männer im internet? dachte es sind die frauen, die es hier eigentlich gar nicht gibt

    1. @fin Many people say social media is highly male dominated (Except for Pinterest). This chart doesn’t match that claim even closely.

    2. @fin But who am I to believe a statistic I haven’t made to say what I want it to myself? :-) I find the edges (Pinterest, /.) believable as

    3. @fin well as facebook. (Averages about 51% female world population, very large sample size.) Many others I seriously doubt.

  9. @maniactive Yeah they’re not there either. They just set up accts a million years ago and now have no idea what to do with them! :)

    1. @JenFongSpeaks I was just sadly looking at a LinkedIn connection that died a few months ago. Wonder what to do with that…

        1. @JenFongSpeaks Removing a dead friend from Twitter doesn’t hurt. Removing him from Facebook and LinkedIn just feels sadder. Weird.

  10. @Kriisiis Le SNCD va sortir très prochainement les résultats de l’étude Social Media Attitude qui te fournira une vision française !

  11. .@Kriisiis L’information sur l’age n’est pas requise sur Twitter. et je pense ça n existe pas mm pas là ou peut servir cette info sur twit!!

  12. @BoraShow 1년 전에 국내 사용자를 분석해 봤을때는 남자가 여자보다 두 배 정도 많았어요 ^^… 프로파일의 이름으로 분석한 결과입니다. ( 영어 이름은 한국어로 자동 변경하고, 애매한 이름은 제외하고 등등 )

  13. @BoraShow 여자분들이 사람들과 대화하는 능력이 발달해서인 듯. 남자들은 친해도 잘 대화 안함.

    1. @OliveVentures Just read your bio ‘Selling Green before it was Sexy’. Love it! Always great to see businesses involved in sustainability.

        1. @OliveVentures That’s great to hear! In the beta version you can use ALL of our advanced features for free! Any feedback is appreciated :)

      1. @helenmerrick Hah! :) I think it’s interesting though from the perspective that the Internet felt like quite a masculine space early on.

        1. @helenmerrick For sure. eg. news sItes like Slate & Gawker still seem to posit women as rambling columnists but men as serious journos, IMO.

        2. @helenmerrick But I guess that is flow on from traditional news… so gender stereotypes still exist online in these traditional forms.

        3. @erinstark for sure; and while women will gradually flow into ‘male’ online spaces, not the other way – pinterest has girl cooties?

        4. @helenmerrick Lol prob. Pinterest doesn’t seem “productive”, perhaps, in the way that masc. Net use seems to be. It’s like window shopping.

    1. @helenmerrick I think I always read more boy-LJs back in the day. I think they admit that some of the data might be a bit skewed though.

  14. @erinstark Personal experience affects our perception a lot. A friend thought tumblr was mostly teenagers until I showed her the age stats.

    1. @shrydar For sure. It definitely depends who/what we’re reading online. I think we/critics like to think it’s a lot worse than it really is.

    1. .@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.

        1. @dakami it’s interesting that ‘more conversational’ sites would have more males – we tend to assume the opposite for real life situations.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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….

    1. @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.

    2. @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.

  18. I just can understand if there is equality in the World out there to us in Africa, i thing it good that the people in the world out there thing about us in Africa in any way rather than thinking about them self, i think about improving the situation in Africa. i want to start with this project just to help us in Africa, can any body help me with someone out there to support save lives in africa ? +23774609812

  19. 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).

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