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Fueled in large part by younger women, Facebook’s US active base grew by 8.6% in September 2009 to 88.3 million, according to an analysis by Inside Facebook that tracks Facebook’s self-reported demographic statistics for the US market.

Though increases for the month came mostly from younger demographics,? Facebook is still growing the fastest- percentage-wise among the over-45 set, the analysis found. For example, the 30-day growth rate for women ages 45-54 is 6.9% and for women ages 55-64 it is 8.4% (vs. a growth rate of only 5.8% for women 18-24). This trend toward more mature demographics was noted earlier this year.

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Additional findings about Facebook’s demographic breakdown:

  • Women ages 18-25 account for the largestdemographic group on Facebook. They comprised 12.8 million users during the September, and added? more than 700,000 monthly active users.

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  • Men in the 18-24 age group account for the second-largest number of users, followed by women ages 26-34.
  • Women older than 45 showed strong growth, while increases among male users older than 35 were lower.
  • Overall, almost half (50%) of US Facebook users are older than 35, and nearly one-fifth top 45.

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Inside Facebook also noted that more Americans are using Facebook to communicate inter-generationally than ever before.

About the data: Inside Facebook said that the data? Facebook provides about its user demographics it not necessarily real time.? Moreover, this self-reported data provided to advertisers? is not always consistent with data from comScore, Quantcast and Compete – which all use different methodologies and do not even agree amongst themselves.

For example, though Facebook reported that it had 81.2 million visitors in August 2009, comScore ranked it as the #4 site in the US, with 92.2 million unique visitors. Compete ranked it at #3 with 122.2 million unique visitors.

Though these numbers appear to vary, “all the numbers tell similar stories, just in slightly different ways,” Inside Facebook concluded in a blog post about Facebook’s continued growth.

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