- 4.62 billion people used social media globally In Jan 2022
- 58.4% of the world’s population uses social media
- 74.8% of adults (age 13+) use social media
- The average person uses 7.5 social media platforms.
- 424 million new people joined social media since Jan 2021
- Growth slowed down to 7.8% in 2019 and 2020
- Growth sped back up to 11.7% in 2021 and 2022
- The world’s favorite social media is WhatsApp.
- Heaviest social media users are Europeans (85%) and North Americans (82%).
- Lightest social media users are Middle Africans (8%)
- In Africa, more social media users are men (60%)
- In NA, more social media users are women (55%)
From the launch of the first true social media site Sixdegrees.com in 1997 and until this day, social media connected more than half of the world’s population.
Who are these people? Which platforms are they using? What’s in the future for social media?
It’s hard to get into the deets and describe more than half the world’s population to you, but I gave it a go. In this updated roundup (13 June 2022), I’ve compiled every stat you’d possibly need if you’re researching social media usage.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- How many users does social media have?
- What are the statistics for social media?
- What is the most used social media platform in 2022?
- What are people’s favorite social media platforms?
- How fast is social media growing?
Check out and learn how enormous social media has been getting.
In January 2022, there were over 4.62 billion people using social media globally, with the typical user using 7.5 social media platforms on a monthly basis. Compared to the previous year, the number of social media users has risen by 10.1%, which equals 424 million additional users in a year.
|Year||Number of Social Media Users||Year-On-Year Change|
|Jan 2012||1,482 mil|
|Jan 2013||1,720 mil||+16.0%|
|Jan 2014||1,857 mil||+7.9%|
|Jan 2015||2,078 mil||+11.9%|
|Jan 2016||2,307 mil||+11.0%|
|Jan 2017||2,789 mil||+20.9%|
|Jan 2018||3,196 mil||+14.6%|
|Jan 2019||3,461 mil||+8.3%|
|Jan 2020||3,709 mil||+7.2%|
|Jan 2021||4,199 mil||+13.2%|
|Jan 2022||4,623 mil||+10.1%|
As you can see from the table, in the last decade the number of social media users has tripled. What’s interesting to see, is how the year-on-year change in the number of users has been dropping, until the Covid year 2021. In 2021 the number of newly joined social media users increased noticeably.
Many people have set up several accounts throughout the social media platforms, so counting the accounts wouldn’t represent the real picture at all. Even the platforms themselves have a hard time counting users due to individuals creating multiple accounts. Facebook’s report, issued in October 2021, stated that in the sample of 5000 newly opened accounts, as much as 56% were set up by existing users. It’s nearly impossible to find out how many accounts in total have been opened and closed through the years.
Luckily, data scientists know how to do their job and provide the most accurate measurements they can to include in research. The correct unit for metrics in social media demographics is a Monthly Active User or MAU. You’ll see this abbreviation often, so keep it in mind. The number of accounts and the number of monthly active users are, obviously, vastly different in value and meaning.
It’s been estimated by the CEO of Good Trust, the after-death digital estate planning industry leader, that there are more than 10 million and up to 30 million dead people only on Facebook.
With roughly 2.93 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 30 million represents more or less 1% of users. I guess that sounds about right?
People usually don’t put the destiny of their social media accounts on the “After I Die” To-Do list, so they simply stay up there. Facebook, for example, must’ve noticed the matter and offered two solutions: you can either turn the accounts of your close ones into memorials, or they can be flagged to be deleted. You can actually even put it on the To-Do list and set up your preferences yourself. Yes, you can set up what will happen with your account after you die, and even choose a trusted person that will take over.
Out of about 7.8 billion people in the world, there have been 4.62 billion people active on social media in January 2022. If we turn that into a percentage it would tell us that 58.4% of the world population are social media users. If we look into the population aged 13 and up, we’d find that the percentage of social media users is even higher at 74.8%. Out of the total number of internet users globally, 93.4% were also social media users.
Geolocation is one of the key factors in the rate of social media adoption. The ratio between the social media users and the total population of specific world regions varies greatly.
What is the percentage of social media users compared to the total population in different regions of the world in 2022?
Region Social Media Users vs. Total Population
Northern America 82%
Central America 73%
Southern America 79%
Northern Europe 85%
Western Europe 84%
Eastern Europe 70%
Southern Europe 76%
Northern Africa 56%
Western Africa 16%
Middle Africa 8%
Eastern Africa 10%
Southern Africa 45%
Central Asia 33%
Western Asia 70%
Eastern Asia 69%
Southern Asia 34%
South-Eastern Asia 72%
Social media has been adopted by the largest majority in Northern Europe with 85% of the population using social media, followed by Western Europe with 84% and Nothern America with 82%. Regions, where social media is used by the least percentage of people, are Middle Africa with only 8% of social media users, Eastern Africa with 10%, and Western Africa with 16%.
Out of the total number of social media users, men are the representatives of the majority in 2022. On average 53.9% of active social media users are male, while 46.1% of active social media users are female.
The ratio between the genders, again, varies depending on geolocation. In less developed regions of the world, men represent the convincing majority of social media users – as much as 72%. In the more developed regions, on the other hand, women are the ones representing the majority of social media users – up to 55%.
Region Female Male
Northern America 55% 45%
Central America 52% 48%
Southern America 53% 47%
Caribbean 51% 49%
Northern Europe 53% 47%
Western Europe 51% 49%
Eastern Europe 54% 46%
Southern Europe 50% 50%
Northern Africa 40% 60%
Western Africa 39% 61%
Middle Africa 39% 61%
Eastern Africa 41% 59%
Southern Africa 51% 49%
Central Asia 48% 52%
Western Asia 38% 62%
Eastern Asia 49% 51%
Southern Asia 28% 72%
South-Eastern Asia 49% 51%
Oceania 54% 46%
Which generation uses social media the most? The answer is exactly what you would expect it to be. But! The gap between generations is narrowing through the years. I remember the times my grandma wouldn’t even know how to turn on the computer, now she’s becoming one of the Facebook doctors. Congrats on your diploma, grandma!
The biggest users of social media are 20 – 29-year-olds, followed by 30 – 39-year-olds. Gen Z and Millenials have been going at it from a very young age and are complete digital natives. Other generations still have to learn, since they’re either younger or older. It doesn’t come as easy as it seems.
Active social media users in each demographic as a percentage of total active social media users:
Age Group Female Male
13 – 19 years old 6.0% 7.1%
20 – 29 years old 14.1% 18.1%
30 – 39 years old 10.1% 12.1%
40 – 49 years old 6.9% 7.5%
50 – 59 years old 4.9% 4.9%
60+ years old 4.4% 4.0%
I find it interesting that in the younger generations there are more males than females active on social media, but in the older generations ratio between the genders equalizes or the number of female active users even prevails over male ones.
It’s depending on the country, but in 2018 surveys revealed as many as 90% of US teens aged 13-17 may have been on social media. 75% of kids said they have at least one active social media profile, and 51% said they visit a social media site at least once a day. Another survey conducted in 2021 reports that 84% of all 13- to 18- year olds stated they have used social media.
As of January 2022, Facebook is still leading the social media platform charts with 2,91 billion active users around the world. Out of 4,62 billion active social media users over 62% actively use Facebook. Followed by YouTube with 2,56 billion and WhatsApp with 2 billion users, the three topping platforms carry a gigantic mass of people.
Media Platform Number of active users
YouTube 2,562 mil
Weixin / WeChat 1,263 mil
TikTok 1,000 mil
Facebook Messenger 988 mil
Douyin 600 mil
Sina Weibo 573 mil
Kuaishou 573 mil
Snapchat 557 mil
Telegram 550 mil
Quora 300 mil
As of January 2022, Facebook has 2.910 billion users worldwide.
As of January 2022, Instagram has 1.478 billion users worldwide.
As of January 2022, TikTok has 1 billion users worldwide.
TikTok is a social media app that was launched in 2016. Since then, it has become one of the most popular apps in the world. The majority of TikTok’s users are young people between the ages of 16 and 24. TikTok is available in over 150 countries and in over 40 languages. The app is particularly popular in Asia. In China, where the app is known as Douyin, it has over 600 million active users.
TikTok has been praised for its engaging and creative content and its user-friendly interface. The app has also been criticized for its lack of privacy protections and for its role in the spread of misinformation.
On the global level, it’s been found that distribution between female and male users varies depending on the platform. As of January 2022, the statistics are revealing the following findings:
- Snapchat is mostly used by women – 53.8%.
- Instagram is mostly used by men – 50.7%.
- Facebook is mostly used by men – 56.6%.
- LinkedIn is mostly used by men – 57.2%.
- Twitter is mostly used by men – 56.4%.
Apparently, Snapchat has something that’s closer to the female and not as close to the male audience. Given that most of the active internet users are represented by men, that could also be a factor here.
Although the overall use of different social media platforms is similarly distributed across generations, some generations use some platforms more than others.
- Gen Z is the most active generation on most social media platforms: Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. They use Instagram the most and Reddit the least. Gen Z is the only generation that doesn’t use Facebook the most.
- Millennials represent the second biggest group of social media users. They visit Facebook the most and Reddit the least. They are the most frequent users of Facebook and LinkedIn out of all generations.
- Gen X uses Facebook a bit less than Millennials, but a bit more than Gen Z. It’s their most commonly used social media platform. They use Reddit the least.
- Baby boomers represent the smallest group of active social media users and are the least frequent users out of all generations. Facebook is the platform they use the most, as well.
The overall percentage of active social media users in the U.S., compared to the total population, has been at 72% in 2021. The most widely used social media platform is YouTube with 81% of users among the surveyed adults. It varies throughout the different studies, which platform is defined as a social media platform. YouTube, for instance, isn’t included in the global studies as a social media platform. So, if we count out YouTube, the most commonly used platform is Facebook as 69% of U.S. adults said they’ve used it. The least amount of U.S. adults has used Reddit (18%) and Nextdoor (13%).
|Social Platform||U.S. adults used platform at least once|
Source: Pew Research Center.
Roughly 4 out of 5 adult women in the U.S. are using at least one social media site (78%). Men, on the other hand, are using social media less: roughly 2 out of 3 men are using at least one social media site (65%). There are some differences in which social media each gender is more interested in.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and Nextdoor attract more U.S. women than men. In contrast, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Reddit, attract a greater share of male users.
Platform Female Male
Snapchat 28% 22%
YouTube 80% 82%
TikTok 24% 17%
Nextdoor 16% 10%
Source: Pew Research Center.
Similar to the global stats, younger generations in the U.S. represent the biggest share of active social media users.
Out of the total population of 18 to 29-year-olds 84% said they use at least one social media site. In the age group of 30 to 49-year-olds 81% use social media. For these two age groups, it’s interesting to see that compared to 2020, the number of active social media users has decreased in 2021.
Usage by older adults has been increasing over the years: 73% of 50 to 64-year-olds and 45% of 65+ year-olds use social media.
The youngest adults represent the biggest users of almost every social media platform – apart from LinkedIn, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and Nextdoor. That’s probably due to not being settled down in terms of jobs and housing as much as the older generations. The platforms they are using the most are YouTube and Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
30 to 49-year-olds are the biggest WhatsApp and Nextdoor users, while 50 to 64-year-olds are the biggest Pinterest users. The oldest generation uses all of the platforms the least.
Platform 18-29 Old 30-49 Old 50-64 Old 65+ Old
70% 77% 73% 50%
71% 48% 29% 13%
30% 36% 33% 11%
42% 27% 18% 7%
32% 34% 38% 18%
Snapchat 65% 24% 12% 2%
YouTube 95% 91% 83% 49%
24% 30% 23% 10%
36% 22% 10% 3%
TikTok 48% 22% 14% 4%
Nextdoor 5% 17% 16% 8%
Counting the number of active social media users only tells that they’re using social media. But which social media do they enjoy the most? Which one is the people’s favorite?
It’s depending on many factors, but here are the favorites based on gender, age, and country:
- Amongst female internet users aged 16-24 and 25-34 Instagram is the favorite.
- Women aged 35-44 and 45-54 like Facebook the most.
- 55-64 years old women prefer WhatsApp over any other social media.
- The youngest age group (16-24 years old) of male users like Instagram the most.
- 25-34 and 35-44 years old men like Facebook the most.
- The oldest age groups aged 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 of male internet users prefer WhatsApp over any other social media.
Users from different countries:
- The worldwide favorite social media is WhatsApp. It’s been voted the favorite in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and UAE.
- Facebook is a favorite in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Thailand, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam.
- Instagram is people’s favorite in India, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.
In 2020, Statista has published a forecast of global social network users and the number of users was projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. It’s now 2022 and the number of active social media users has been at 4.62 billion. It’s telling us that social media user bases are growing far beyond our best forecasts.