US Facebook users are getting older

No longer a domain of the young.
No longer a domain of the young.
Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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Senior citizens in the US are the fastest growing group of Facebook users, nearly doubling in numbers between 2012 and 2019, a vast shift from the platform’s beginnings as a service for college students.

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that 37% of the “Silent” generation, those born before 1945, are now on Facebook, compared to 21% in 2012. Baby Boomers are also increasingly on Facebook: 43% of the generation were on in 2012, whereas 60% have accounts in 2019. The numbers of Millennials and Gen-Xers on the platform, meanwhile, have kept relatively steady.

More users is good news for Facebook, but their age is less so, because it could mean the platform will start losing users. Surveys have consistently shown that—with some exceptions—the youngest generation shuns Facebook in favor of other platforms, including the Facebook owned-Instagram.

The new Pew data also looked at the ownership of smartphones, which for those between ages 74 and 91 is 40%. Meanwhile, 19% of Millennials are smartphone-only internet users, meaning they do not have broadband service at home.