A close look at Facebook demographics

Ronny Kerr · December 17, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/c80

What, exactly, do 350 million social networking users look like?

Of Facebook's 350 million total users worldwide, about 105 million live right here in the United States. Though it might be difficult to accurately portray Facebook's global population completely (because the site does not ask users to disclose race), some data scientists at Facebook decided to take a look at the massive social networking site's user base through the eyes of the US Census Bureau.

Aided with 150,000 American surnames, the study found that Facebook has grown quite a bit since its earliest beginnings as a place for mostly whites and Asians, who now account for 6% of the site. African-Americans and Latino-Americans make up 11% and 9% of the site, respectively, making the site a lot more representative of the actual US population.

"What we've seen over time is that as Facebook has grown in the U.S. population, we've come to represent a cross-section" of Americans online, said Facebook researcher Cameron Marlow, who led the study. "Diversity on the site is a good thing for the site, and for the users of the site."

For users, the benefit is plain and simple: the more people there are on the network, the higher the chances that the people you know and care about will be on the network.

For the site, any growth is clearly a good thing. All the signs point to the fact that Facebook is growing like crazy. Earlier this week, comScore announced that Facebook had finally beat AOL to the fourth biggest site in the country, just under the big three search and content machines--Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

Like a snowball rolling downhill, we should only expect Facebook to pick up more numbers and, in turn, see greater diversity.

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