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Americans’ Social Media Use in 2024

A Pew Research Center Study

2 min read


  • YouTube and Facebook remain the leading platforms, used by 80% and 67% of adults respectively.
  • TikTok usage skyrockets, with 33% of adults now using the platform, driven by younger demographics.
  • Significant age gaps exist, with younger adults much more active on most platforms compared to older generations.

A Closer Look:

The Pew Research Center study, released in January 2024, surveyed 5,733 adults about their social media habits from May 19 to Sept. 5, 2023. The findings paint a clear picture of how Americans are using these platforms and how their usage patterns differ based on various demographic factors.

Platform Popularity:

YouTube and Facebook continue to be ingrained in the American social media experience, with 8 out of 10 adults reporting usage. Instagram follows closely with 62%, solidifying its position as a major player. Snapchat and Twitter hold steady at 37% and 23% respectively, maintaining their dedicated user bases. However, the most significant growth comes from TikTok, which has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. A third of adults now use the platform, with a staggering 67% penetration rate among 18-29 year olds. This growth suggests a generational shift in preferences, with younger audiences gravitating towards video-first, short-form content.

Age: A Dividing Line in Social Media Habits

The study exposes a clear divide in social media usage across different age groups. Younger adults (18-29) are significantly more active users compared to older generations. Platforms like Instagram (78% usage among young adults vs. 15% among those 65+) and TikTok (67% vs. 4%) highlight this disparity. This generational gap reflects not only changing preferences but also differing levels of digital literacy and comfort with various online platforms.

Beyond Age: The Interplay of Demographics

While age plays a significant role, other demographic factors also influence social media usage. Hispanic adults are more likely to use Facebook and Instagram than their white counterparts, while Black adults show a higher preference for Twitter. Gender differences are also evident, with women gravitating towards Pinterest and Instagram, while men favor Reddit and Twitch. Education and income levels also contribute, with higher educated and higher-income individuals generally exhibiting higher social media engagement.

Looking Ahead: A Dynamic Landscape

The social media landscape remains dynamic, with established platforms adapting and new contenders emerging. While YouTube and Facebook maintain their strong positions, the surge of TikTok signifies a shift towards new formats and content preferences. Understanding these demographic variations is crucial for businesses, policymakers, and researchers aiming to effectively navigate the increasingly complex social media landscape.


The Pew Research Center study offers valuable insights into the current state of social media in America. YouTube and Facebook remain dominant, but TikTok’s rapid growth, particularly among younger demographics, suggests a changing landscape. Age, race, ethnicity, gender, education, and income all play a role in shaping how people engage with social media, highlighting the need for nuanced approaches to understanding and utilizing this powerful communication tool.


Picture Credit: Pixabay 5380163

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