Studies show that 83% of internet users aged 18 to 29 use social media. No surprise there. But a new survey released on Thursday revealed that young people’s obsession with social media is divided along demographic lines.


The survey, released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, confirmed that Twitter and Instagram are most popular among African Americans, while white women under 50 favor Pinterest, an online pinboard.

The Stats:

  • 26% of African American internet users use Twitter, as compared to 19% of Hispanics and 14% of whites.
  • In August 2011, 18% of African American users were using Twitter.
  • 23% of African Americans use Instagram, outnumbering Hispanics’ 18% and whites’ 11%.
  • Women outnumbered men in Instagram usage with 16% to 10%
  • 54.4% of African American phone owners and 57.3% of Hispanic phone owners own smartphones. Whites comprise 44.7% of smart phone users.
  • 15% of Internet users have tried Pinterest.
  • Almost 7 out of 10 Internet users in the US use Facebook, while only 6% of users are on Tumblr.

Pew compiled the survey after conducting phone interviews with 1,800 respondents from November 14th to December 9th. Asian Americans weren’t included in the study because there were not enough respondents to draw statistically reliable conclusions.

The study also found that younger and urban Twitter users outnumber their older and rural counterparts, although the usage rate remained constant (something like 14% to 17%) regardless of gender, education and income levels.

USA Today spoke with Wayne Sutton, a social-media consultant and blogger at Sutton said that Twitter enables “a level playing field in getting [African Americans’] voices heard.”

“With the history of our culture, we now have an equal channel like anyone else,” he said. “We are also some of the largest consumers of entertainment and sports. And that’s a lot of what is said on social media by us.”