Who’s Tweeting in the U.S.?

A new Pew Research Center Report shows that eight percent of online adults in the U.S. use Twitter and it is particularly popular with young adults, minorities, and those who live in urban areas. 

This is the first-ever survey from Pew that exclusively examines Twitter users. In previous surveys, researchers had asked internet users whether they “used Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others?”

The study shows eight percent of the American adults who use the internet are Twitter users. Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:

Young adults – Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than older adults.

African-Americans and Latinos – Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.

Urbanites – Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.

The report also says that women and the college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service. One-quarter of Twitter users check the service multiple times per day to see others’ tweets, while one in five never look for new updates. Here are some other statistics:

  • 72% of Twitter users say they post updates about their personal life, activities or interests.
  • 62% post work-related updates.
  • 55% use Twitter to share links to news stories.
  • 53% use the service to retweet others’ material.
  • 40% use the service to share photos with others, while 28% use it to share videos.
  • 24% tweet their location

The report contains data from several different sources. The data on overall Twitter usage and demographics comes from the Pew Internet Project’s November 2010 tracking survey, while the data on frequency of use and types of material posted by Twitter users comes from two Omnibus Surveys conducted in October 2010. The two types of surveys, tracking and omnibus, collect data from nationally representative dual-frame (landline and cell phone) samples, employ the same respondent selection process, and identify internet users using identical questions. They are conducted by the same survey research firm, Princeton Survey Research Associates International, at the same field house. However, there are differences between the two types of surveys that should be noted when comparing data across them. You can read more in the Methodology section.