Pew Research Details Who’s Using Which Social Networks

Barry Levine, Top Tech News, February 18, 2013

Who are the biggest social media users, and, after top social site Facebook, what are the most popular networks? A new study from Pew Research Center looks at those questions.


Pinterest is used most by women, adults under 50, whites and those with some college education. Tumblr appeals most to adults in that prime 18 to 29 demo, as does Instagram. Tumblr also fares well with African-Americans, Latinos, women and urban residents.


This is the first time that Pew Research has compared participation in the social networks by ethnic groups. Hispanics are the biggest users of social networks, with 72 percent of that group represented. Non-Hispanic African-Americans are second at 68 percent, while non-Hispanic whites are 65 percent.


Percentage-wise, more African-Americans and Latinos use Twitter and Instagram than do other ethnic groups. White women under 50 are Pinterest’s biggest fans. Pew said it did not indicate percentages of Asian Americans because there were not enough respondents from that demographic to be statistically reliable.


Additionally, seventy-one percent of urban dwellers are socializers, compared to 67 percent of suburbanites and 61 percent of rural residents.

The study, while interesting, was based on a relatively small survey of just 1,802 Net users. {snip}


Additional details on the Pew Internet study “The Demographics of Social Media Users—2012” are available online.


Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • bubo

    Nice to see the “digital divide” has been bridged. I assume we’ll start seeing a huge influx of black scientists and engineers any day now. Right?

  • The__Bobster

    I must be living in the Stone Age. I don’t use any of these services. I don’t even know what some of them do.

    However, I do know that they can get you into trouble.

    • Robert Binion

      Me, too! I don’t even have a cell phone and spend most of my time with a turntable and reel to reel. Is it true that you can’t judge a facebook by its cover?

      • The__Bobster

        I don’t have a sail foam or cable TV or wireless internet, yet somehow I’m surviving.

        • Ron Cheaters

          I assume you haven’t felt the joy of sending texas?

          • The__Bobster

            I never understood why you would resort to teletyping when you had a phone. It’s a step backward.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      I’m batting zero on that stuff, too. Also, we don’t have mobile phones or cable TV. I have a well-equipped shop at home, and my wife has a good sewing machine. What demographic do you suppose that makes us?

      • GM (Australia)

        White, English speaking and determined to do something useful with your time!

        My kids say “why don’t you get Facebook’ I say why and I just do not have the time.
        My I.T. provider interestingly says,”Don’t bother, its just a waste of time and is not necessary”

      • Flossie

        Hear, hear. I haven’t had a phone in years, and I got rid of my TV several months ago.

  • Anon1

    I think a more useful study would explore the amount of time used on these websites by ethnic group. I do have facebook, twitter and instagram accounts, and most of my friends do. But the amount of time I spend on them, particularity twitter and instagram is quite minimal.

    • Flossie

      Notice there’s no mention of MySpace. Evidently it has become the Detroit of social media.

  • Flashmobs.

    • Bad_Mr_Frosty

      Give a genetic hunter-gatherer a smart phone and he’ll use it to… gather and hunt.

    • Flossie

      Interesting about “flashmobs.” At first they were groups of mostly white people gathering in food courts or train stations to sing opera or Christmas carols. Watching the recordings will often put a lump in your throat. Then they became marauding bands of mostly black people gathering and swooping down on retail outlets to steal armloads of clothes, jewelry and electronic gadgets. The crude recordings often show up on WorldStarHipHop and fill the viewer with disgust.

  • bigone4u

    With all the social connectivity eating up people’s time, who gets the work done that needs doing? It sure ain’t illegal immigrants on public assistance. It sure ain’t urban “youfs.” It sure ain’t the baby mamas. It sure ain’t the smooth talkin’ Tyrones and Rico Suave’s. Who gets the work done? Who could it be? Could it possibly be those folks that the current POTUS referred to an “clinging to their guns and religion?” Those folks the POTUS said must accept the idea that their wealth needs to be spread around? Those folks with that imaginery advantage called “white privilege?” Who gets the work done? Just asking.

  • a multiracial individual

    [This is the first time that Pew Research has compared participation in
    the social networks by ethnic groups. Hispanics are the biggest users of
    social networks, with 72 percent of that group represented.
    Non-Hispanic African-Americans are second at 68 percent, while
    non-Hispanic whites are 65 percent.]

    I always thought that there was an inverse correlation between employment, and usage of social media. However, if that were true wouldn’t that mean that Blacks should be plugged in more than Hispanics. As per usual, no mention of Asians.

    • Intrepid

      Asians are less than 4% of the U.S. population. There just aren’t enough of them to generate reliable statistics. However, given how focused their youth are, I wouldn’t be surprised if their social media usage was indeed lower than everyone else. Good for them though, they won’t become hyper-distractible.

      Social media has a damaging effect on concentration. Use in moderation.

  • Tim

    My brain is too fogged right now to make sense of the numbers and put them to good use. But it reminds me of the time when my brother wanted to develop a data base of brunette lady dentists who drove XKE`s back at the dawn of the computer age…

  • jay11

    I see blacks, latinos and the under 30 white crowd plugged into their ‘social networks’ practically all the time. Brainwashing, time wasting and illusion.

  • JDInSanDiego

    I’m already SICK of being referred to as a Non-hispanic White and the term is still pretty new. I’m white, period. I don’t want to be defined as a non-hispanic any more than I want to be called non-black or non-jewish or non-asian or non-alien or non-undocumented or non-female or non-felon.

    • Mark

      Europeans must create a culture of resistance against those who attack us, firstly by
      disarming our adversaries in their war of words.

      I always use European when describing my race, we are Europeans and it is difficult, if not impossible to stigmatize Europeans with false labels, I have never heard of someone calling a European, a European supremacist? European trailer trash? Excreta; we can disarm the enemy by insisting they call us Europeans.

  • Vanessa

    I am in my twenties and proud to say I have never had a facebook account…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  • Fr. John+

    “Hispanics are the biggest users of social networks, with 72 percent of that group represented. Non-Hispanic African-Americans are second at 68 percent, while non-Hispanic whites are 65 percent.”

    After the initial ‘kick’ of using a SMS (social media site) the thought that I would be endlessly hearing people I once considered friends, rant and rave on topics we no longer shared the same interests in, was summed up by a pithy quote- ‘SMS is like a high school reunion- you can never leave.’

    Frankly, the racial breakdown does not surprise me. White Men with minds would much rather read good books, learn a new skill, build bridges, and create new inventions, that chatter on SMS sites. When I think of the stereotypical hispanic/Mexican sitting under the sun, chatting all day, and doing no work, or the similar image of slaves in antebellum South, ditto, I can see why wasting entire days on SMS appeals to the groups they do…. just sayin.’

  • Shattered

    The reason why whites use social media less than blacks or hispanics is because they are very busy working and attending college. Also, they don’t have a street gang to promote.