Social media use jumps from 7% to 65% in past decade

What a difference a decade makes: 65 percent of U.S. adults now use social networking sites, up from 7 percent in 2005, according to a new Pew Internet research report.

User numbers across all age groups have risen, including for users 65 and older: 2 percent in 2005, 11 percent in 2010 and 35 percent in 2015. The most likely age group to use at least one social networking site remains the 18-to-29 demographic, with 90 percent of them using it today.

Differences in social media use among genders, education and income levels and community types have been consistent.

  • 68 percent of women use social media in 2015, compared with 62 percent of men.
  • Current numbers for different educational levels: 76 percent for those with college or graduate degrees, 70 percent for those with some college education and 54 percent for those who have a high school diploma or less. But the number for those with a high school diploma or less has grown more than tenfold.
  • 78 percent of those living in the highest-income households use social media, while 56 percent of those in the lowest-income households do.
  • Those living in rural areas have been least likely to use social media. Today, 58 percent of rural residents, 68 percent of suburban residents and 64 percent of urban residents are users. That compares with 5 percent of rural residents, 7 percent of suburban residents and 9 percent of urban residents in 2005.

The numbers among ethnicities have historically been pretty close: 65 percent of whites and Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks use social media in 2015.

The findings are derived from 27 surveys and about 47,000 interviews of adult Internet users and about 62,000 interviews of all adults conducted by Pew from March 2005 to July 2015.

Facebook, now the world’s largest social network, launched in 2004, a year before Pew started tracking social media use. Since then, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and others have joined the party to cater to our networking and sharing needs.


Photo from Associated Press


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