Google, Facebook Users Skew Young, Affluent, and Educated

February 18, 2011

gallup-socnet-demographics-feb11.gifBoth Google and Facebook attract young, affluent, and educated Americans in large numbers, according to results of a new USA Today/Gallup poll. Each counts more than half of those under 50, those with college degrees, and those making more than $90,000 a year among their users.

Men, Women Use Facebook Equally, Men Use Google More

Gallup data indicates men (42%) are about as likely as women (45%) to have a Facebook page. However, men (63%) are 12.5% more likely than women (56%) to say they visit Google in a given week. Overall, 40% more US adults say they use Google in a typical week (60%) than have a Facebook page (43%).

However, as mentioned above, both sites have substantially higher usage rates with younger, wealthier and educated Americans. For example, among 18-to-29-year-olds, 83% use Google in a typical week and 73% have a Facebook page. Those respective figures drop to 34% and 17% among Americans age 65 and older.

Similar trends can be observed when looking at disparities in income and education. Among Americans earning $90,000 or more annually, 85% use Google in a typical week and 55% have a Facebook page. Those respective figures are 56% and 41% for Americans earning less than $90,000 annually.

Usage rates among postgraduates (87% for Google and 53% for Facebook) and college graduates (85% and 58%, respectively) do not greatly differ. However, among those with a high school degree or less, the respective figures drop to 35% and 28%.

All Demographics More Likely to Use Google

Currently, US adults in all key demographic groups are more likely to visit Google in a given week than to say they have a Facebook page. Google attracts a significantly larger share of college graduates, postgraduates, and those making at least $90,000 per year. Both sites have yet to reach a majority of those with a high school education or less, or those who are at least 65 years old.

Facebook Users More Concerned about Privacy

gallup-facebook-google-concerns-feb-2011.JPGThe majority of users of both sites say they are very or somewhat concerned about invasion of privacy and internet viruses, and about half are concerned about spam e-mail. Facebook users about 20% more likely than Google users to say they are concerned about invasion of privacy and internet viruses, and about 10% more likely to say they are concerned about spam.

Gallup data indicates older and less affluent users of these sites are in some cases more concerned about these issues than other groups, but Gallup says the patterns are not uniform and because of small sample sizes, the results by group are too small to report.

Facebook Surges in 2010

Social networking category leader Facebook continued its momentum as it amassed millions of new users and people spent more and more of their time on the site, according to a new white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” indicates that Facebook accounted for 10% of US page views in 2010, while three out of every 10 US internet sessions included a visit to the site.

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