Facebook Growth By Age Group: Share of College-Age Users is Declining

With the U.S. now accounting for only about a third of all Facebook users, we are starting to see a gradual shift away from its original demographic of college-age users (18-25): 46% of all users are 18-25 years old, down from 51% in late May. The number of users in the 18-25 segment is growing, but at a slower pace than the other age groups. Among the major Facebook age segments, the fastest growing are teens (13-17) and young (26-34) to middle-age (35-44) professionals, with the growth in teens driven by non-U.S. markets. Also note the strong growth in the much smaller 45-54 and 55-59 age groups:
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In the U.S., 51% of Facebook users are 18-25 years old, down from 59% in late May. But when one looks at other large and/or fast-growing Facebook markets, the share of the 18-25 age group is less than 50% in most of them:
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In the U.S. (51%), Turkey (53%), and France (51%), more than half of all Facebook users are 18-25 years old. In comparison, the other countries shown above have more users who are young (26-34) or middle-age professionals (35-44), pushing the share of 18-25 year olds below 50%. Finally, while there is slight shift away from college-age users both in the U.S. and overseas, the 18-44 age group coveted by advertisers, continues to comprise over 80% of the Facebook user base.

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  • http://www.nextmediaandsociety.org FG

    I just published the same distribution by age chart for Facebook in Italy and it turned out the biggest segment in my country is 26-34: http://is.gd/2KD5

  • http://www.mymeemz.com Alex Tolley

    My calculations from your data show that if present rates of growth continued, the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups would catch up with the 18-24′s in less than 3-3 1/2 years, with the 45-54 age group getting there in 6-7 years.

    So Facebook becomes “mature” in 3-4 years?

  • http://twitter.com/sarahm Sarah Milstein

    Just curious: does the data account for aging in the existing Facebook population? We might not be there yet, but at some point, Facebook membership could be both longstanding and ubiquitous enough in some countries to reflect population shifts by age.

    • http://www.oreilly.com/ben Ben Lorica

      It likely does account for aging. The data relies on the self-reported demographic data provided by users — which includes date of birth. For Facebook to start reflecting demographic trends in individual countries, it would really need to be ubiquitous and representative of the underlying population. Can a walled garden reach that state? I have my doubts.

  • No Body

    Dude, please learn some techniques for graphing. For instance, use the same scale for comparisons. Use more complex graphs to compare across time.

    Start here: http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a?topic_id=1

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Lie_with_Statistics

  • http://www.mymeemz.com Alex Tolley

    What part of the data is explained by aging? The RoC is based on a short period, and a quick check of the numbers shows that this cannot account for the growth of the older age groups. The data you have suggests that what we are seeing is later/older adopters trying the platform.

    • http://www.oreilly.com/ben Ben Lorica

      Alex,

      Sorry for the confusion. I was responding to whether the underlying data accounted for aging — which it does, via the date of birth.

      You are right, the recent growth in the other age groups is due to “later/older adopters trying the platform”.

      Ben

  • http://www.globeget.com/ GlobeGet

    Nice writing. I look forward to read more in the future.

  • http://www.soapdarsteller.de Mayra

    Quite interesting…greetz from Germany…

  • RS

    Just to point out — as my generation gets older, and graduates from college. The time we spend on Facebook will be significantly less. Take into account new graduates getting jobs, most likely at companies that do not allow personal Internet usage. Also, the need to use social networks to connect with people beyond our immediate social circle is kind of a ridiculous concept, as not a lot of people really care about meeting someone from Kindergarten, and engaging in conversation beyond the usual small talk.

  • http://topgoogletrends.netcashdaily.net/resveratrol-review-2009-learn-if-resveratrol-works Resveratrol Review

    Facebook is slowing becoming the new Myspace. The users are switching over. This is cause for change in statistics I think.

  • http://topgoogletrends.netcashdaily.net/google-works-fortune-review-does-google-works-fortune-work Google Works

    Soon there will be some to replace Facebook as well. Mark my words.

  • iTim

    Im 23 right now. The future percentages depend on the current user ages. For instance, if the number of users (18-25) are the highest currently, then a few years down the road the age group 26-35 will be the highest. This can be in comparison to the generations. Generation Y (born 1982-2000) will continue to dominate until our kids today (3-10) utilize our social sites.

  • http://collegeprepu.com/do-colleges-look-at-facebook/ Colleges look at Facebook

    Facebook really took off over the past few years. So much though, that now college reps are looking at future student’s facebook pages and considering this with their admission.