This will be part one of a multi-guide series about national social media use per country that you can only find on Whizcase.
The reason for making these guides is simple – social media has transformed our very lives over the years. It has become embedded in everything we do, and the way we interact with it has evolved too.
I believe it’s high time we saw just how much of an influence it has on us.
I’ll begin with the United States and go through the following sections:
- Evolution of social media users per year
- Evolution of social media penetration rate per year
- Evolution of preferences for specific social media users per year (short overview of the number of users for specific social media platforms and their penetration rate in the country)
- Economic & educational overview of US social media users per year
- Age & race overview of US social media users per year
- Gender overview of US social media users per year
- Community-type overview of US social media users per year
- Frequency of social media use in the US per social media platform
- Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn usage overview across 19 factors in the US
- Twitter, Pinterest & Snapchat usage overview across 19 factors in the US
- YouTube, WhatsApp & Reddit usage overview across 19 factors in the US
- TikTok & Nextdoor usage overview across 19 factors in the US
I’ll add helpful commentaries if and when they are needed for every section to help you understand the ramifications of the data I’m presenting.
Let’s not waste any more time and start!
Section I: Evolution of US Social Media Users per Year
In this section, I’ll show you the year-over-year evolution of the number of US social media users, starting in 2005 and ending in 2023.
The data included in the charts below are based on surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and Statista. See the chart below:
|Year||Number of Social Media Users||% Year-Over-Year Increase|
|2005||~ 23.6 million|
|2006||~ 32.8 million||+38%|
|2007||~ 69.2 million||+111%|
Disclaimer on the methods used for the surveys that acted as the basis for the chart above:
- The Pew Research Center shows the percentage of US adults who said that they used at least one social media site from 2005 to 2021 (I calculated the exact number manually)
- Statista shows the exact number of social media users in the US from 2018 to 2027 (internet users who also said they used a social network site through any device at least once a month)
From 2005 to 2023, the number of social media users in the US has increased by 1,206%, approximately. These numbers may not be precise because the methods used are fallible. But we get a general idea, nonetheless.
Back in 2021, almost 72% of all US adults said they used at least one social media site, according to the Pew Research Center (linked above). Are you wondering what that percentage is for 2023? I’ll talk about that below but before that…
Did you know that Facebook was created and launched in 2004? By 2005, there were already some 23 million social media users in the US, and that number skyrocketed through the following years.
Instagram was created in 2010, and you can see another rally in the upside for social media users. TikTok came in 2016, and there was once again another bump in the number of US social media users 2 years later, in 2018.
It seems that the emergence of every social media platform brought with it a new flood of social media users and a lot of hype. Then, things settled for awhile until the next one popped out, bringing with it new supporters.
But that’s hardly unexpected. What may come as unexpected is the actual penetration of social media platforms in the US. Keep reading!
Section II: Evolution of US Yearly Social Media Penetration Rate
This is where it gets interesting and where you can see the profound extent of social media spread throughout the US over the years. I’ll also show you the year-over-year increase in the penetration rate.
Take a look below:
|Year||Penetration Rate||% Year-over-Year Increase|
Remember, this chart is made by using the entire US population (not just adults). The penetration rate has increased by 1,048% from 2005 to 2023, from 7.98% to 91.67%.
In just 6 years, half of the US population has been using social media since 2005, and in 18 more years (until 2023), over 91% is on social media right now. Almost the entire US population will be a social media user in 2023. That’s mind-numbing if you think about it.
According to Data Reportal, there were approximately 311.3 million internet users in the US in January 2023, and that’s about 91.8% of the total population. And as you can see in the chart above, 91.67% of all Americans used social media in 2023.
So, there’s almost no statistical difference between US internet users and social media users. Almost everyone with access to the internet uses social media in the US. The adoption rate is around 99.02% of all internet users currently living in the US.
I believe there’s only a matter of time before every internet user in the US is also a social media user. The statistical difference is pretty insignificant even now, but just for the same argument.
What’s more, here’s something you might not have thought about. The penetration rate refers to how utilized something by a population compared to the total number of people in a country.
Social media penetration has increased almost constantly in the US even though its population has increased as well. This means that, statistically, the rate at which people started using social media in the US outstripped the natality rate. More people started using social media than there were born every year (almost).
That’s some food for thought, I believe.
Let’s move on to the next section, shall we?
Section III: Evolution of Preferences for Specific Social Media Users per Year
In this section, I’ll show you which social media platforms have been most popular in the US throughout the years. There are some interesting findings here, I promise you.
I’ll provide the number of social media users per platform per year as well as the penetration rate every year. See the chart below (based on reports by Data Reportal):
|Year||Facebook Users||Instagram Users||Twitter Users||Snapchat Users||TikTok Users|
|2005||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2006||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2007||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2008||54.5 million||Was not launched yet||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2009||111.9 million||Was not launched yet||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2010||~128 million||Unknown||Unknown||Was not launched yet||Was not launched yet|
|2011||~159.1 million||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Was not launched yet|
|2012||~172.9 million||~31.22 million users||Unknown||Unknown||Was not launched yet|
|2013||~183 million||~50.9 million users||Unknown||Unknown||Was not launched yet|
|2014||~185 million||~63.64 million users||~59.72 million users||Unknown||Was not launched yet|
|2015||~192.11 million users||~32.12 million users||46.94 million users||17.29 million users||Was not launched yet|
|2016||~197.7 million users||~37.4 million users||42.39 million users||27.43 million users||Unknown|
|2017||~202.82 million users||~84.01 million users||86.22 million users||48.46 million users||Unknown|
|2018||219.77 million users||~98.84 million users||88.7 million users||65.89 million users||Unknown|
|2019||221.46 million users||~130.17 million users||107.2 million users||79.12 million users||35.7 million users|
|2020||231.11 million users||~134.31 million users||103.32 million users||77.49 million users||66.9 million users|
|2021||233.63 million users||~146.96 million users||111.58 million users||82.91 million users||86.9 million users|
|2022||239.15 million users||159.8 million users||76.9 million users||107.1 million users||131 million users|
|2023||242.86 million users||143.4 million users||95.4 million users||107.4 million users||113.3 million users|
As hard as this data was to gather, there wasn’t anything I could find about Twitter’s number of users between 2006 and 2013. Many of these platforms simply don’t keep country-based statistics around.
However, the data I did find shows some interesting facts. For instance, TikTok’s userbase grew by 217% from 2019 to 2023 in five years.
In that same timeframe, Facebook grew by 9.6%, Instagram by 10.16%, Twitter dropped by 11%, and Snapchat grew by 35.74%. Clearly, TikTok outpaced every other social media platform by a landslide.
Another surprising (yet expected) thing is that Twitter’s userbase seems to be going down instead of up. Back in 2019-2021, Twitter’s userbase sat at 107-111 million users.
In 2022, there was a sharp decline all the way to 76.9 million users, and then it went back up to 95.4 million. It still hasn’t recouped its loss, and it’s pretty clear what caused this – Elon Musk. Once he acquired the title of Head Honcho, many users simply left.
Now, regarding America’s preference for social media, purely in terms of a number of users, here’s the list:
As for the rate at which every social media platform was adopted, Facebook has a massive advantage since it was the first social media platform that used the live feed feature. That’s when social media really took off.
You can compare Facebook’s starter advantage with that of Bitcoin. Most of the reason why Bitcoin is valued so high today is due to it being the first cryptocurrency in the world.
But if we were to compare all the other social media platforms in terms of growth rate, TikTok wins, and there’s no doubt about that. The short-video format was so incredibly popular (and it still is) that it propelled TikTok to the height of popularity in a fraction of the time it took others to reach the same level.
Let’s move on to the next section, though.
Section IV: Economic & Educational Overview of US Social Media Users per Year
We might be able to glean into the psychology of US social media users or, at least, extract some useful ideas if we look at the economic and educational level of the users per year.
This is where the Pew Research Center comes to the help with a very hand chart:
|Year||High school or less||Some college||College graduate||Less than $30,000||Between $30,000 – $49,999||Between $50,000 – 74,999||$75,000+|
Here are the main ideas I get from this chart:
- There seems to be a direct correlation between the level of income and the quickness of social media adoption throughout the years. The higher the income, the faster the adoption
- In terms of education, those with a high school have slowly but steadily adopted social media, whereas those with a college were much faster. Even college graduates were a tad slower, though faster than those with a high school or less
- In 2021, there were more social media users with some college or college graduates than people with a high school or less in the US.
- The $75,000+ income/year group is almost directly proportional in terms of adoption speed with the college graduate users. Both of these groups adopted social media the fastest, and toward the last 5-6 years, they reached a plateau.
It seems to me that the higher the income of individuals in the US, the more likely they are to be using social media over time. The adoption rate is almost always directly proportional to income.
Almost the same thing can be seen for education levels. More educated Americans usually began using social media much more quicker, except for college graduates in some years.
For some reason, those with some college were much faster to adopt social media than college graduates in 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015. Or something happened that kept the college graduates away from social media. I guess we’ll never know…
There is one interesting event that happened between 2019 and 2021, though. US social media users with a yearly income between $50,000 and $74,999 suddenly…left. There was a 17% decrease in their numbers in that year.
Again, we’ll never know what caused this. And it’s time we moved on to our next section.
Section V: Age & Race Overview of US Social Media Users per Year
The age and race of US social media users have gone through somewhat of a change throughout the years, too. As you’ll see in the chart below, there are some very interesting findings:
|Year||Ages 18-29||Ages 30-49||Ages 50-64||Ages 65+||White Users||Black Users||Hispanic Users|
In terms of age, the adoption rate is inversely proportional to the user’s age, as you would expect. The younger the user, the more likely it is that they use social media.
The adoption was exponentially higher for the 18-29-year-old users compared to every other age group, especially the 50-64 and the 65+.
Only in 2021 the numbers of 18-29 and the 30-49-year old users came close, with the former at 84% and the latter at 81%. But throughout the years, younger people have used social media much more than their older counterparts.
Now, with regard to the race of the users, it appears that white and black users have always been at a tie, most of the time. White users are a bit in front in terms of adoption, but the differences are minimal in most cases.
In 2021, for instance, more black people used social media than white people.
The more drastic difference appears for the Hispanic users who didn’t begin using social media until 2010. Statistically, according to the Pew Research Center, there were no Hispanic users on social media between 2005 and 2010.
But in 2010, around 44% of US adults who were asked if they use social media were self-reported Hispanics. So, there was an instant boom of Hispanic users in 2010, and the uptrend continued in force.
In 2021, Hispanic users were the most numerous, at 80%, more than white and black users. In fact, ever since 2010 until 2021, the adoption rate for Hispanic users was the highest on average.
Did white people have more access to social media than black people? It appears so, but the differences are extremely small (2-4 percentage points in most years). As for the case of this phenomenon, it could be because of the socio-economic situation of whites vs. blacks.
Throughout the years, white people tended to be better-off than their black counterparts. Financial and social factors clearly played a role in this slight discrepancy in social media adoption, in my opinion. But to tell you the truth, I would have expected a bigger discrepancy.
As for Hispanic users, indeed, that’s where the discrepancy comes in full force. There were zero self-reported Hispanic users in the US until 2010. If I were to make a guess, I’d say that similar financial and social factors played a major role in their technological “retardation” (delay).
Section VI: Gender Overview of US Social Media Users per Year
How do you think the gender statistics look for social media users in the US? You might be thinking that men have always had more access to social media due to social constraints placed on women. But is that really the truth?
There’s only one way to find out. Check out the chart below:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find data for every year, so there are some missing. It seems that in 2005 and 2006, there were more men using social media than women, but that’s when things changed.
From 2008 onward, women start outnumbering men on social media in the US. Only 2011 shows that there were an equal number of men and women using social media. Ever since the difference has only gotten bigger.
In 2021, for instance, 78% of respondents identified themselves as women, and 66% identified themselves as men, which shows greater adoption/use by women.
So, I wouldn’t say that women didn’t have access to social media due to social constraints, at least not since 2008 onward. And even during previous years, there were only 2-3 percentage-point differences between men and women in terms of social media usage.
The better question would be – why are there more women in the US using social media than men? It might be because social media is more attractive to men than to women. Or whatever makes social media addictive/attractive works better on women.
If I were to guess, I’d say that women tend to be more attracted to visual and aesthetic elements and the digital social aspects of social media. And social media offers plenty of that. I might be wrong, of course.
These stats change accordingly when talking about specific social media platforms, though. For instance:
- Twitter has the largest gender disparity at 62.9% male and 37.1% female (2023)
- Instagram has 51.8% men and 48.2% women (2023)
- Snapchat has 51% women and 49% men (2023)
You see, there’s a stark difference between social media as a whole and specific social media networks. Twitter is mostly male-dominated due to the excessive focus on politics. Women are apparently put off by this.
Section VII: Community Type Overview of US Social Media Users per Year
In this section, I’m going to look at the US social media users in terms of where they live, and the type of community that they live in:
Again, it’ll be interesting to see their adoption of social media over the years. See the chart below:
This chart shows what you’d expect. Users living in urban communities gained access to social media faster and in greater numbers than those living in suburban and rural areas.
People living in rural areas were the slowest to accommodate to social media, and they adopted it the slowest.
On the other hand, the difference between urban and suburban users in the US is minimal. In fact, in some years (2014, 2015, 2016), there were more social media users from suburban communities. This could mean one of three things:
- Users from urban communities had reached a saturation point in terms of social media adoption
- Users from suburban communities were temporarily faster to adopt social media
- Something happened that drove urban users from social media
I believe that the last two explanations are more likely. Clearly, the saturation point had not been reached because in 2013, there were 66% urban users on the platform, and the next year, that percentage dropped to 63%. It remained at 63% in 2015 and only started increasing from 2016 onward.
Whereas the number of suburban users kept increasing without any declines. This means that something happened in 2015 and 2016 that lowered the number of US social media users living in urban communities.
As for rural communities, their adoption rate of social media increased steadily, albeit much slower than the other two communities.
The explanation for this disparity is simple: the more urbanized the community, the better off the individual was, financially speaking. At least, that’s one way of looking at things. I’m sure this wasn’t the only limiting factor that contributed to the stunted increase in rural users’ adoption of social media in the US.
But the idea is that with more money, you have fewer worries and more time for yourself, technically. Hence, you can also dedicate time to social media, which was largely seen as unnecessary back then. It still is largely unnecessary today, if you ask me.
In 2021, 76% of US social media users were from urban communities, 71% were from suburban communities, and 66% were from rural areas.
Those living in rural areas are still in lower numbers compared to their more urbanized peers, but I’ll put this on the fact that people living in rural areas usually have less free time due to agricultural or cattle-related work.
Section VIII: Frequency of Social Media Use in the US per Social Media Platform
How about we take a look at how often Americans use social media per year? I’m relying on a survey performed by the Pew Research Center in 2021, so this isn’t 2023 data.
|Social Media Platform||Less Frequent Usage||Weekly Usage||Daily Usage|
In terms of daily usage, it seems that Twitter scores the highest with 27%, which is both weird and expected…?
It’s weird because, generally, Twitter is a platform meant for political debate, not exactly made for fun or endless scrolling.
However, Twitter is also an important source of news for many Americans, and I believe this is the biggest reason why many Americans use it on a daily basis.
Facebook, on the other hand, was the least frequently used platform in America in 2021, according to this survey. People used other platforms more frequently or even on a daily basis.
It’s also most peculiar that YouTube is the most weekly-used platform out of all the other networks. Only Twitter comes close (within 2 percentage points).
I would have thought that YouTube is used more frequently, but there you go – it’s most used at least once per week. The daily usage is quite low, as well. Only Facebook has a lower daily usage.
Section IX: Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn Usage Overview Across 19 Factors in the US
In sections IX through XII, we’ll look at the usage in the US of 11 social media platforms across 19 factors. In this section, we’ll look at Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn usage with these factors in mind:
- % of men usage
- % of women usage
- % of people aged 18-29
- % of people aged 30-49
- % of people aged 50-64
- % of people aged 65+
- % of white users usage
- % of black users usage
- % of Hispanic users usage
- % of users with income of less than $30k
- % of users with income of $30k-$49,999
- % of users with income of $50k-$74,999
- % of users with income higher than $75k
- % of users with high school or less
- % of users with some college
- % of college graduate users
- % of users living in urban areas
- % of users living in suburban areas
- % of users living in rural areas
This will be a lengthy analysis, but I hope we’ll get some interesting data for the specific use of social media platforms in the US. See the main chart (2021 data) below:
|High School or Less||64%||30%||10%|
|Less than $30,000 per Year||70%||35%||12%|
|Between $30,000 – $49,999||76%||45%||21%|
|Between $50,000 – $74,999||61%||39%||21%|
|More than $75,000||70%||47%||50%|
Here are my personal opinions and observations based on the chart above:
- Facebook was the most used platform in 2021 compared to Instagram and LinkedIn. This is likely due to the fact that Facebook has a more expansive social media presence and usability compared to Instagram and LinkedIn.
- A higher concentration of women used Facebook and Instagram than men, while men used LinkedIn more than women in 2021. This could be caused by the fact that more men were interested the career advancement and business-related topics compared to women. It’s purely speculation on my part.
- Facebook seems to attract people of all ages, while Instagram becomes less interesting for older users (people aged 30-64 gradually used Instagram less and less as they got older). LinkedIn, on the other hand, is similarly attractive to people aged 18-64 but less so for people aged 65+.
- Black and Hispanic people used Facebook more than white people in 2021, which might show a cultural and social preference for Facebook among those groups. Instagram was also used more by black and Hispanic people, and the same went for LinkedIn.
- It seems that, in terms of race, white people had the lowest usage of these three platforms
- There’s a direct correlation between the level of education and the level of usage across Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Users with more education use social media more. This difference is especially visible on LinkedIn
- Around 51% of the college graduates that answered this survey said they used LinkedIn, compared to 10% with high school or less and 28% with some college.
- Across all income groups, Facebook scores the highest in terms of usage among US users. There’s noticeably less usage in the $50k-$74,999 income group for Facebook (61%), while the others remain at around 70%.
- Almost all income groups prefer Instagram over LinkedIn, except the $75k+ income group. Around half of the $75k+ income group was using LinkedIn, compared to 45% for Instagram and 70% for Facebook. This might mean that richer people are more interested in career advancement and professional opportunities, which does make sense.
- US users living in rural areas use social media less than their urbanized peers, while those living in urban and suburban areas scored similarly. There’s no significant statistical difference between these two groups.
- Suburban users used LinkedIn 3% more than their urban peers, though, which might be due to their stronger desire to increase their quality of life, while urban users already had a higher quality of life (pure speculation on my part).
All in all, my final conclusion for the Facebook vs. Instagram vs. LinkedIn comparison in 2021 is that:
- Facebook is the most used platform out of all three
- More surveyed women used Facebook than men
- More people aged 30-49 used Facebook than other age groups
- More black people used Facebook than other races
- More college graduates used Facebook than other education-based groups
- More people with incomes between $30k-$49,999 used Facebook than other income groups
- More urban and suburban users used Facebook than rural users
Remember, these statistics are only for 2021, but overall, they should still apply for 2023 given the visible trends. Now that this section is finished, we’ll move on to the analysis between Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat for all 19 factors I outlined above.
Section X: Twitter, Pinterest & Snapchat Usage Overview Across 19 Factors in the US
Same as the section above, but now I’ll be looking at Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat for all of those 19 factors. See the chart below:
|High School or Less||14%||22%||21%|
|Less than $30,000 per Year||12%||21%||25%|
|Between $30,000 – $49,999||29%||33%||27%|
|Between $50,000 – $74,999||22%||29%||29%|
|More than $75,000||34%||40%||28%|
And here are my observations based on the chart below in a more simplified and easy-to-digest form:
- Most of those questioned in the survey used Pinterest (31%) more than Twitter (23%) and Snapchat (25%). This is quite surprising to me since I’ve never used Pinterest, and I don’t often hear about it. I would have surely expected Twitter or Snapchat to be way more utilized than Pinterest. You learn something new every day, I guess…
- More men than women used Twitter, while the other way around is true for Pinterest and Snapchat. There’s a massive difference between men’s usage of Pinterest (16%) and women’s usage (46%). That’s a whole 30% more women who said they use Pinterest. As for Snapchat, women are still in the lead with 6 percentage points
- Based on the chart, the older the respondent, the less likely they were to use Twitter and Snapchat, and the more likely it was that they use Pinterest. People aged 18-29 had the highest scores for Twitter and Snapchat, while people aged 50-64 scored the highest for Pinterest
- As for people aged 65+, they scored the lowest for Snapchat use (2%) and only 18% for Pinterest. It seems that, with age, you lose interest in most social media and just want to feel happy, which Pinterest seems to do a superb job at
- Black people had the highest usability for Twitter (29%) and Pinterest (35%), though white people were very close to Pinterest, too (34%). They also scored quite similarly for Snapchat, with black people in the lead.
- Hispanic users took the lead for Snapchat and had very low usage on Pinterest and medium usage on Twitter. Snapchat seems to attract them more
- There’s a directly proportional connection between the users’ age and usage of Twitter and Pinterest, it seems. The more educated the respondent, the more likely it was that they used Twitter and Pinterest.
- It wasn’t the same for Snapchat, though. While more people with some college used it compared to people with a high school or less, there weren’t too many college graduates who used it. All in all, people with a high-school or less scored the lowest across all three social networks when compared to their more educated peers
- The survey shows that people with lesser incomes will use Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat less than those with higher incomes. There’s a gradual increase in usage the higher the income of the respondent.
- There are only two exceptions to this: the $50k – $74,999 group uses Twitter less often than the $75k_ and the $30k – $49,999 group and the $75k+ uses Snapchat a bit less than the $50k – $74,999 group. However, the $75k+ group uses Twitter and Pinterest much more than any other income-based group
- The more urban the community type that a user lives in, the more likely they are to use Twitter and Snapchat but not Pinterest. 30% of all urban users who responded said they use Pinterest, compared to 32% of suburban and 34% of rural users
- Rural users will be more likely to use Pinterest compared to Twitter and Snapchat. This does make sense, given its many uses for home-style inspiration, recipes, and other household-related ideas. It could be that rural individuals in America are more preoccupied with home improvements, recipes, and so on.
Now for the final conclusion for the Twitter vs. Pinterest vs. Snapchat comparison in the US in 2021:
- Pinterest was used by more respondents during the 2021 survey (chart above) than Twitter and Snapchat
- More surveyed men used Twitter, and more surveyed women used Pinterest and Snapchat.
- More people aged 14-29 used Twitter and Snapchat, while more people aged 50-64 used Pinterest
- More black people used Twitter and Pinterest, but more Hispanic people used Snapchat
- More college graduates used Twitter and Pinterest, but more people with some college used Snapchat
- More people with an income of $75k+ used Twitter and Pinterest but more with an income between $50k – $74,999 used Snapchat
- More urban users used Twitter and Snapchat, but more rural users used Pinterest
Interested in the YouTube vs. WhatsApp vs. Reddit comparison? That’s what I’ll be talking about in the next section, so keep reading!
Section XI: YouTube, WhatsApp & Reddit Usage Overview Across 19 Factors in the US
This will be the same as above but for the YouTube, WhatsApp, and Reddit trio. This one should be interesting, and even I was surprised by some of these stats. See below:
|High School or Less||70%||20%||9%|
|Less than $30,000 per Year||75%||23%||10%|
|Between $30,000 – $49,999||83%||20%||17%|
|Between $50,000 – $74,999||79%||19%||20%|
|More than $75,000||90%||29%||26%|
Below, you’ll find a simplified summary of the data in the chart above, with my observations:
- YouTube dominated in terms of usage against WhatsApp and Reddit based on the responses in the survey. YouTube came at around 81% compared to 23% WhatsApp and 18% Reddit, so it’s clear to see just how YouTube is among the American population. There’s not even a contest.
- More men used YouTube, WhatsApp, and Reddit, but the differences are nearly insignificant for YouTube and WhatsApp. The only major difference appears in Reddit’s case, where almost twice the number of interviewed men said they use Reddit (23%), compared to women (12%)
- That’s not unexpected, given Reddit’s “shitposting“, debate-centric, and echo-chamber nature. Women are most likely put off by that kind of atmosphere
- People of all ages used YouTube more than WhatsApp and Reddit, but the largest audience was the 18-29-year-old ones. More people aged 30-49 used WhatsApp than any other group, and more people aged 18-29 used Reddit compared to all other age groups
- It seems that younger people are more attuned to shitposting and “behind the scenes” discussions like the ones on Reddit. Naturally, people aged 65+ were found to have the lowest usage among all three platforms compared to their younger counterparts
- More Hispanic people used YouTube and WhatsApp, but white and black people used Reddit more (equal percentage at 17%). It’s quite curious to see that white people have the lowest (but still high) usage scores for YouTube and WhatsApp
- Hispanic people also had an overwhelming advantage for WhatsApp usage at 46%. That’s 50% more than black people and 187% more than white people. I can’t tell you why this is happening, but it is
- There’s a directly-proportional correlation between education and YouTube & Reddit usage. The more educated people who responded to the survey used YouTube and Reddit more. The only difference appears in the case of WhatsApp, where people with some college used the app way less than both other groups
- People with high school or less were found to use Reddit a lot less than their more academically endowed peers. This might show how Reddit either requires some type of academic predisposition or more educated people tend to prefer back-handed discussions more than less educated users
- More people with an income of $75k+ said that they used YouTube, WhatsApp, and Reddit than other income groups. It’s interesting to see how the highest income bracket has a pretty big usage advantage for both WhatsApp and reddit
- With Reddit, which I largely consider pointless, it might be that richer people have more time on their hands or want to make their opinions known. As for WhatsApp, I honestly have no explanation for why richer people use it more in America
- More people living in urban areas said they use YouTube and WhatsApp compared to suburban and rural users. However, more suburban users said they use Reddit compared to both other community-type groups
- People living in rural areas used WhatsApp vastly less often (or at all) compared to the other two groups. There’s a difference of -67% between rural users and urban users, and a difference of -60% between rural and suburban users in their use of WhatsApp
What I did expect was YouTube being an absolute king in terms of usage when compared to WhatsApp and Reddit. I did not, however, expect some of the stats on this chart, though. I’ve emphasized this in the bullet points above.
Anyway, here are my final conclusions for the YouTube vs. WhatsApp vs. Reddit comparison in 2021:
- More people said they use YouTube than both WhatsApp and Reddit combined. At 81% usage, YouTube is the crowned king among these three social platforms. I expected nothing less
- More men used YouTube, WhatsApp, and Reddit than women
- More people aged 18-29 were likely to use YouTube and Reddit but not WhatsApp. That honor goes to the 30-49 age group
- More Hispanic people used YouTube and WhatsApp, but more white and black people used Reddit
- More people with an income over $75k were likely to use YouTube, WhatsApp and Reddit
- More college graduates were likely to use YouTube, WhatsApp and Reddit
- More urban users were likely to use YouTube and WhatsApp but not Reddit. The suburban users used Reddit more
Next, we’ll deal with a comparison between TikTok and Nextdoor!
Section XII: TikTok & Nextdoor Usage Overview Across 19 Factors in the US
Nextdoor is a weird one for me. I’m not accustomed to this type of platform but essentially, it’s a hyper-localized app that connects neighbors with local businesses and other locals.
I fully expect TikTok to take the crown here but we’ll see. Take a look below:
|High School or Less||21%||4%|
|Less than $30,000 per Year||22%||6%|
|Between $30,000 – $49,999||29%||11%|
|Between $50,000 – $74,999||20%||12%|
|More than $75,000||20%||20%|
Here’s a handy list of the summarized information from this chart, alongside my personal interpretations:
- 21% of all interviewed men and women said that they used TikTok, compared to only 13% for Nextdoor. So, TikTok is more used than Nextdoor. It’s what I expected, honestly, since Nextdoor is such a specialized type of social media platform
- More women said they use TikTok and Nextdoor compared to men, which isn’t quite surprising. Nextdoor appears to be an app dedicated to forming meaningful connections with neighbors, helping one another, and things like that
- Men tend to be less interested in this type of stuff and would rather do things themselves, based on my own experience. Forming meaningful relationships with unknown people also isn’t that much of a priority to them (again, based on my personal experience)
- TikTok was primarily used by younger people, and the usage rate dropped sharply with age. With each age bracket, the reported usage dropped by half, and in the case of those 65+, it was almost four times less usage
- For Nextdoor, the 30-49 age group had the highest usage (17%), followed by the 50-64 group. The 65+ and the 18-29 age groups had the lowest usages at 8% and 5%, respectively. This may show that younger people have no interest in mingling with their neighbors
- Hispanic users used TikTok more than white and black people, but white people used Nextdoor much more than their racially-diverse counterparts. This might show that white people are more interested in engaging on a deeper level with their neighbors and finding local businesses, etc
- On the other hand, TikTok was severely underutilized by white people vs. black and Hispanic people. I don’t know the reason behind this, but it’s interesting to know nonetheless
- People with some college appear to use TikTok the most out of all education groups, while college graduates are using Nextdoor the most. The difference is quite big, as well, with twice as many college graduates using Nextdoor compared to people with some college and six times the number of people with a high school or less
- Nextdoor was only used by 4% of the people with high school or less that were interviewed during this survey. This may show that more educated people are more interested in their community and would like to extend their local social network more than uneducated people
- People with a yearly income between $30k – $49,999 used TikTok much more than other income groups. In fact, the remaining three income groups had nearly the same usage percentage for TikTok (around 20-22%)
- As for Nextdoor, it was the people with an income of over $75k that used it the most. The correlation seems to be directly proportional, with richer people using Nextdoor more than their poorer counterparts. I guess when you have more money, you have fewer worries and will start caring about community socializing.
- In terms of the community type, the correlation is directly proportional, with people living in more urban areas using TikTok and Nextdoor more than their rural peers. It’s interesting to see how rural users only accounted for 2% of Nextdoor’s usage in the survey
- Compared to 17% for urban and 14% for suburban users, rural users seem like they don’t need Nextdoor at all. This might be because rural communities are smaller, and “everyone knows everyone” already
And here are my final conclusions for the TikTok vs. Nextdoor comparison in the US for 2021:
- People were more likely to use TikTok than Nextdoor
- Women were more likely to use TikTok and Nextdoor compared to men
- People aged 18-29 were more likely to use TikTok, but the 30-49 age group used Nextdoor more
- Hispanic people were more likely to use TikTok, but white people used Nextdoor more
- People with an income between $30k – $49,999 were more likely to use TikTok, but those with over $75k used Nextdoor more
- People with some college were more likely to use TikTok, but college graduates used Nextdoor more
- People living in urban areas were more likely to use both TikTok and Nextdoor
All in all, the social media landscape in the US seems to be as diverse as everything else in the country. There are also major differences between social media use cases when looking at everything that makes a user unique.
Age, gender, race, education, income, and community are all important markers of a person’s behavior on social media, their adoption rate of social media, and overall interest.
This guide has gone on long enough, but I hope you’ve gathered some interesting information from it. All the data I’ve presented come from reputable sources and/or deduced by me using related but trustworthy data.
As for my personal interpretations, take them for what they are – unbiassed views on the potential explanations of some of the things we’ve discussed.
I’ll see you at the next one. Cheers 😀
- The Pew Research Center – Social Media Fact Sheet
- Statista – Number of Social Media Users in the United States from 2019 to 2028
- Data Reportal – Digital 2015: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2016: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2017: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2018: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2019: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2020: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2021: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2022: The United States of America
- Data Reportal – Digital 2023: The United States of America
- The Pew Research Center – Social Media Update 2014