Commentary

Three In Ten Americans Don't Use Social Media

It’s safe to say a new medium has “arrived” when it’s more interesting to talk about who’s not using it than who is.

On that note, just over three in ten American adults still aren’t using social media in any form, although a fair number of these simply don’t use the Internet at all, according to new survey results from the Pew Research Center.

Overall, 21% of U.S. adults say they don’t use social media despite having Internet access, and another 10% don’t use the Internet at all.

The proportion of adults who go online but specifically reject social media is somewhat lower than in other developed countries, such as France at 33%, the UK at 27%, Canada at 26%.

When Internet access is factored in, the total proportion of non-users rises to 52% in France, 38% in the UK, and 35% in Canada.

Only a few countries led the U.S. in Internet access, but interestingly, they still lag somewhat in social media adoption, perhaps reflecting concerns about privacy or data security.

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In Sweden, 7% of the population doesn’t use the Internet, but 22% abstain from social media, while in the Netherlands the proportions are 5% and 25%, and in Australia 7% and 23%, respectively.

The biggest standout in this regard is Germany, where only 15% don’t use the Internet but a remarkable 49% said they don’t use social media.

No surprise, social media usage stats were dramatically skewed by age, although the U.S. once again displayed smaller disparities than other countries.

Thus 86% of American adults ages 18-34 are using the Internet, compared to 78% of adults ages 35-49, and 52% of adults ages 50+.

For comparison, in Canada, 90% of the young cohort uses social media, along with 70% of the middle group and just 46% among older respondents.

In the UK, 93% of Brits 18-34 use social, but just 75% of those ages 35-49, and 38% of the 50+ set. In Germany, the proportions for the three age demos are 76%, 45%, and 19%, and in France 84%, 58%, and 23%, respectively.

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