December 18, 2009
12/18: Social Networks Grow in Popularity Among U.S. Residents
Social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn have yet to convince the majority of U.S. residents to sign up, but if a recent national Marist Poll on the topic is any indication, it’s only a matter of time before they do.
The survey found that 41% of U.S. residents have a profile on a social networking site, a 9 percentage point jump since Marist last asked about social networking in June.
Notably, the social networking generation gap may be shrinking. Although those under age 45 still outnumber the proportion of older Americans who stay connected online, more Americans age 45 and older have discovered the interactive joys of trading witticisms, sharing photos, and swapping links. 23% of people in that age group now report having an account compared with 14% when Marist last asked this question in June.
Growth continues for people under 45, as well. 65% of residents under 45 years old say they have a social networking profile while 59% said the same in the last poll.
Americans who are employed are also more likely to appreciate the advantages social networking affords. Nearly half — 48% — of people with a job have a profile compared with only three in ten adults who are not working.
When it comes to having a social networking profile, women are more likely to connect with family, friends, and colleagues online. 45% of women report they have profiles, and 36% of men say the same.
Relationships and Social Networking
The substantial increase may be explained by the general perception that social networks are a good way to strengthen connections to friends and family. 68% of U.S. residents with profiles say the sites help their personal relationships while 12% say they hurt them. 20% are unsure.
Age is also a factor on this question. More younger Americans with a social networking profile think using this form of communication helps relationships compared with those who are older. 71% of those under age 45 think this is the case compared with 63% who are 45 and older.