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Learning to find and use statistics can be tough. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- National and even regional statistics on things like demographics are often going to be old. The census is only taken once every ten years, and smaller surveys may appear every three or five years. You'll find the most recent statistics in articles.
- Statistics are typically gathered from government sources, from companies like news agencies, or by academic researchers. Keep in mind who is garthering statistics and why when you consider using them. What biases might be involved?
- Many statistic sites will allow you to download tables and then manipulate them using software like excel. This can make it easy to find percentages and do other math. Can't figure out how? Ask a librarian!
How to find demographic info
Not sure how to find out who uses social media?
1. Start by checking the many surveys from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
2. Check library databases for articles in academic journals and trade publications.
3. Try a general search in Muskie Scholar for "demographics" and "social media."
Who uses social media?
U.S. Census: Computer & Internet Use
Tables and publications about computer usage and Internet access.
Pew Center: Social Media Usage 2005-2015
The figures reported here are for social media usage among all adults, not just among those Americans who are internet users. In many previous Pew Research reports, the share of social media users has been reported as the proportion of internet users who had adopted such sites, rather than the full adult population, which continues to include a relatively small share (currently 15%) who still remain offline.
Pew Center: Social Media Update 2014
A new survey from Pew Research Center's Internet Project asks adults what social media platforms they use, how often they use social media, and more.
Pew Center: Coming and Going on Facebook
Survey of Facebook users asks users how often they voluntarily leave Facebook.
Pew Center: Photos and Videos as Social Currency
46% of internet users post original photos and videos online they have created themselves and 41% curate photos and videos they find elsewhere on the internet and post on image-sharing sites. Women are more likely than men to use Pinterest, while Instagram and Tumblr attract equal shares of men and women.
Pew Center: Demographics of Social Media Users
A 2012 survey that examines which social media sites are favored by men, women, teens, seniors, and more.
In addition to these resources, keep in mind that you can often find statistics on more specific topics in academic articles and other studies, as well as in news articles and online.
Website from the US Census Bureau which allows for easier access to data from the census. Locate aggregated statistical information on people, housing, and businesses.
Created by the University of Michigan, allows you to view demographic trends based on 2000 Census data. The site uses colorful maps and charts to depict nationwide and state based statistical information.