Facebook may have started as a social networking site catering for University students, but as the most popular social networking platform in the US, it has broadened its user base considerably. Renowned marketing analysts, The Nielsen Company reported that in June 2009 Facebook had a unique US audience of more than 87 million people, compared with fewer than 63 million who visited MySpace that month.
According to Inside Facebook, the fastest-growing group of users in August 2009 were males ages 13 to 17, whose numbers increased by 14.5%, followed by men ages 45 to 54, rising 12.8%. Among women, the highest growth was in the 45 to 54 and 55 to 65 age ranges, which were up 11.8% and 11%, respectively.
Female Facebook users of all ages outnumber their male counterparts, however, new male users flocked to the social network at a faster rate than females in almost every age group, rapidly closing the site’s gender gap.
Inside Facebook reported that 57% of the site’s users, or about 45.4 million people, were women, compared with some 34.3 million who were men.
The largest portion of Facebook members is still ages 18 to 25, followed by 26-to-34-year-olds. Taken together, those groups made up 51% of the member population. But young adults also have the lowest rates of uptake, indicating that the age disparity may continue to close, along with the gender gap.