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Older Americans use of Facebook since 2011

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Story highlights

  • Young adults no longer have a Facebook page today than they did in 2011
  • Meanwhile, significant growth among older users since then
  • No difference in Facebook usage between Republicans and Democrats

WASHINGTON, DC – Facebook has consistently been the most popular among younger adults ages 18-29, but the percentage of that group who use it – currently 72% – hasn’t changed much since Gallup’s last measurement in 2011 The Older Age group has shown significant growth in Facebook usage since that time.

Facebook usage much higher among older age groups in 2018

Do you have your own page on Facebook, the internet social network, or not?

2011 2018 difference
% % (Pt. Pt.)
National adults 46 56 +10
18 to 29 74 72 -2
30 to 49 57 65 +8
50 to 64 34 52 +18
65+ 18th 32 +14
The 2011 figures are averages of the surveys conducted in January and October
Gallup

The largest increase in Facebook usage from 2011 to 2018 was recorded by adults between the ages of 50 and 64. The usage rate of this group has increased from around a third in 2011 to more than half today. Adults of retirement age have almost doubled their usage rate.

The use of the social media platform among 30 to 49-year-old adults has increased by nine percentage points to currently 65% ​​less.

Young adults are still the most common age group using Facebook, but the differences have narrowed significantly since 2011, with 30- to 49-year-olds reporting almost as much usage as those under 30.

This data comes from a Gallup April 2-8 survey that found that Facebook users’ privacy concerns have increased across all age groups since 2011 and topped the list of user concerns.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked at a recent Congressional hearing about perceived anti-conservative biases on Facebook, and Zuckerberg replied that the company operates without political bias. Despite some conservative claims about the site’s politically motivated censorship, there were no significant differences between Republicans and Democrats’ use of Facebook in 2011 and 2018.

Women (61%) are more likely than men (51%) to have a Facebook page; Gallup found a similar difference in 2011.

Majorities of all educational groups have a Facebook account

Facebook was originally launched as a platform for college students, and in 2011 the majority of adults with college experience, a college degree, or college education said they had an account on the social networking site. Meanwhile, less than a third of adults with a college degree or less say they have a Facebook page.

However, in 2018, half of adults with high school degrees or less (50%) said they were on Facebook – an increase of 19 points since 2011. The site remains among Americans with college experience (57%) more popular. University graduates (61%) and adults with a university degree (67%) – the use of which has increased compared to 2011.

Facebook usage by educational group, 2011 vs. 2018

Do you have your own page on Facebook, the internet social network, or not?

2011 2018 difference
% % (Pt. Pt.)
High school or less 31 50 +19
Some college 55 57 +2
University graduates 59 61 +2
Post graduate 57 67 +10
The 2011 figures are averages of the surveys conducted in January and October
Gallup

Bottom line

Facebook has grown into a social media platform and the demographics of its users has expanded. Although college students in the late 2000s may remember the site that was mostly used by their peers, Facebook is now also used by their parents, grandparents, and their friends with no college experience.

As Facebook grapples with how to deal with users’ concerns about privacy and the use of their personal information, it needs to consider changing demographics as well. Young adults who first became known by using the site are no more active on Facebook today than they were in 2011 as the company now has to compete with a host of other social networking platforms, including Twitter and Snapchat.

After the initial drop in North American daily users in 2017, Facebook recently reported that the drop was reversed in the first quarter of 2018, but the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal could hinder future usage. As Facebook moves forward, it could determine not only its overall growth, but also the demographics of its changing users.

Survey methods

The results of this Gallup survey are based on telephone interviews conducted April 2-8, 2018 as part of the Gallup US Survey with a random sample of 1,509 adults ages 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the full sample of national adults, the sampling error rate is ± 4 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

For results based on the total sample of 785 Facebook users, the sample margin of error is ± 4 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%.

All reported ranges of sampling error include calculated design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% of respondents with cell phones and 30% of respondents from landlines, with additional minimum quota by time zone within the region. Landline and cellular phone numbers are selected using random digit dialing.

Learn more about how the Gallup US survey works.

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