Facebook Growth Regions and Gender Split

Since we began tracking Facebook demographics in late May, weekly growth has held steady, usually in the low single-digits on a percentage basis. More importantly, it’s fair to say that the company has successfully expanded overseas. With close to 128M users, the share of U.S. users is down to around 30% from 35% in late May:

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Over the last three months, Facebook has added members across all regions, with the strongest growth coming from Europe, South America, and the Middle East/North Africa:

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In Europe, growth has been especially impressive in Italy and Spain. I’m not sure when the Italian translation of Facebook launched, but soon after, Italians started signing up in droves. The (crowdsourced) Spanish translation was completed within a month and launched in early 2008. I’ve read reports that users in Spain have used the site to connect with long lost relatives in Latin America. Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay were Facebook’s fastest-growth countries in South America. In late May, some Radar readers were highlighting Facebook’s growing popularity in Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile.

I don’t have any particular insight into how Facebook is growing in the Middle East and North Africa, but the company has added lots of users in Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey. (I encourage Radar readers from the region to share their thoughts in the comments.)

Having grown up in Southeast Asia, I’ve been detecting more interest in Facebook among friends in the region. But for now Facebook still lags Friendster and Multiply. In fact Facebook has far less users in all of Asia than users from Canada! Similarly, the U.K. has more than twice the number of Facebook users than all of Asia. Facebook has to contend with homegrown social networks and slightly different online habits: Asian internet users spend more time on gaming and instant messaging. But even with their relatively small user base and amidst a competitive environment, Facebook is growing in Asia (they added 1.5M users from the region in the last 12 weeks).

Another interesting tidbit about Facebook’s recent growth, is that the fast-growing regions discussed above are adding teens (13-17) and college-age (18-25) users at a faster rate than North America.

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With a commanding share of college-age users in its home country, U.S. growth has been strongest among working age users (26-59). I was expecting stronger growth in the teen market (13-17), but teens remain the slowest growing group in the U.S.

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The Gender split has persisted: Females now outnumber Males, 51% to 44%. In late May the Female to Male split was 41% to 34%. The share of users who decline to state their gender dropped from 24% in late May to 5% in early December.

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That Females so outnumber Males may surprise people. While the Female/Male distribution has persisted over time, there is quite a bit of variation across regions. The Middle East/North Africa and Africa are the only regions where Male Facebook users outnumber Females.

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  • Joan

    Does this mean FB is a safe investment?

  • http://www.vincos.it vincenzo cosenza

    Hi Ben, in Italy Facebook was translated in Italian on May 2008, but we registered the boom during the first week of September (at the end of the holiday season, maybe due to an offline word of mouth).

    You can see figures and numbers on my blog http://www.vincos.it/2008/11/28/fenomeno-facebook-passaparola-o-influenza-dei-mass-media/

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

      @vincenzo : Thanks for the tidbits (“Facebook was translated in Italian on May 2008″, “at the end of the holiday season, maybe due to an offline word of mouth”) . I’ve been noticing the surge in Italy for a while now too.

      Ben

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Joshua-Michéle

    Hi Ben,
    Are there any published demographics on the age groups entering FB? Meaning, I can see the fastest growing segments are of working age but is there any other profile information out there on these users? (urban, suburban, income ranges, are they just parents looking at their kid’s pages etc.). I am assuming not but just curious.
    j

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

      Josh,

      I actually haven’t covered it on Radar (yet), but there is information on education status (HS/College, Alumni, etc) and location. Location depends on the country (in the U.S. you can get states, and even cities).

      Essentially, a very small subset of information found on the profile pages.

      Ben

  • http://blog.tobiwei.de/ Tobi

    What about more detailed information about germany?

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

      @Tobi

      Here are two charts:

      1. Top chart shows the age distribution in Germany

      2. Bottom chart is the total number of users in Germany
      * about 1.1 Million in early December, from 540 thousand in late May
      * Gender Split (Male=42%, Female=53%, Decline to state = 5%)

      Ben

  • http://ru3.com/luc Luc Legay

    Nice information. But, I consider it regrettable that graphs are not available in high res. Thanks.

  • http://www.kaeuferportal.de Roberto Peterson @Joan

    I don’t think that any investment is totally safe in time of the financial cricis

  • http://www.igokmen.com Gökmen Karasu

    Turkey is in Europe, not middle east.

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

      Gökmen Karasu,

      I’ll keep that in mind when I do updates in the future. For now, I’m going by several independent lists of Middle East countries found via Google.

      If anything, the Europe & Asia groups may need subgroups. While I have more targeted clusters for the Americas (N. America, S. America, C.America and the Carribean), Europe and Asia buckets are catchalls for now.

      More importantly, any insight into how Facebook is growing in Turkey?

      Ben

  • tamay

    there is a discussion about facebook growth in turkey:
    http://thenewjew.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/facebook-in-turkey-what-makes-turkey-1/

  • http://www.mediahound.biz Edward O'Meara

    Ben,
    The teen distribution is interesting. Is there an absolute number assigned to the high school demo (male/female split)? Or any estimate on how many high school kids are “advancing” their age…

    Am wondering whether there’s any research out there why it hasn’t grown more among teens? Is it purely parental access or are teens using something else? Am guessing there are strong anti-Facebook proponents in schools, for obvious reasons.

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

      Edward,

      Gender Distribution of Teens (13-17)

      * U.K. => Male (38.4%), Female (59.5%), Decline to State (2.1%)
      * U.S. => Male (40%), Female (58.5%), Decline to State (1.5%)

      [Here is an accompanying chart.]

      Myspace is probably an important reason why U.S. growth among teens is slower.

      Ben

  • http://www.iGokmen.com Gokmen Karasu

    Thanks Ben.

    Facebook is a huge huge thing here in Turkey as the numbers show. It has surpassed yonja.com, which has around 6 million members. i think it will continue to grow in 2009. Turkish population could be more if Facebook has supported Turkish language earlier. anyway, i think in the first half of 2009, it will be around 10 million Turkish users.
    thanks.

  • http://www.modes4u.com Sandra

    interesting post.
    I am from Austria but live in Hong Kong. When I arrived 4 years ago Friendster was the hippest thing in town. Now me and all my friends moved to Facebook and I can find more and more of my friends there online. Give it a little more time and Facebook will be Number 1 here too.

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

      @Sandra

      Having grown up in Southeast Asia, your comment piqued my curiosity. I created the following graph for Facebook’s Asian markets.

      As I mentioned in my post, Facebook does not (yet) have a big presence in Asia. But as the graph shows, it is already quite popular in Hong Kong. The two fastest growing countries are Indonesia and the Philippines.

      Ben

  • Ktrin

    @Edward O’Meara

    I have found the teens (amazingly enough) are reticent to give up their comfort zone with MySpace. Perhaps as they move out of school mode and into the work world and heavier dependency on mobile internet (or ownership of 3G phones)their presence on FB will increase.

    This article speaks to the membership numbers.
    I also find that participation levels at FB are increasing and suspect that the mobility of FB is a large factor. MySpace mobile continues to be cumbersome and unfriendly.

  • huntingtiger06

    I am currently doing a research project for the growth levels of Facebook in Austria, specifically Vienna. I was wondering if you could provide some more detailed information about this region.

    I have seen great growth here in Austria since the launch of Facebook in German early last year.

  • http://www.forex-direkt.de Martin

    I think there will be more users in facebook in a view years. StudiVZ and SchuelerVZ ist here very popular, but only for studies or pupils.

  • http://www.vergleich-reiseruecktritt.de reiseversicherung

    facebook is in germany not so pupulär. Greenting from Germany

  • http://www.edelight.de edelight

    May we could translate this article?

  • http://www.girisimciyim.org Bayilik

    In Turkey, Facebook users are increasing rapidly.I suggest, Social media must research Turkey’s potential.