Facebook & "Old People*" | npENGAGE

Facebook & “Old People*”

By on Apr 3, 2009

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Your donors and constituents are too busy and too mature to get caught up in Facebook antics, right? It is mostly just Teenyboppers posting messages and uploading photos from last weekend, right? Facebook and other hip social networks are for young people, right?

According to a recent article from Inside Facebook, the answers to the above questions are “NO” (well, maybe the young at heart). In fact, the largest active demographic on Facebook is 18 -25 year olds followed by 26 -34 year olds, then by 13-17 year olds, then 35-44 year olds:

Rank Age Group Users (millions)
1 18-25 19.3
2 26-34 10.7
3 13-17 5.5
4 35-44 5.3

Upon further reflection, I suppose the 18-25 age group isn’t too shocking, since Facebook got its start in the college space. The 26-34 age group is also a fairly natural extension of a population made of post-Facebook college grads. I find it extremely intriguing that the 35-44 and 13-17 age groups have very similar sized Facebook populations. Considering individuals in 13-17 age group were basically born with a mouse in hand, it is amazing that the “old people” have nearly the same total members. The story gets even more interesting when you look at the rate of growth for the 13-17 and 35-44 age groups:

Age Group New Members (last 120 days) Rate of Growth (last 120 days)
13-17 452,540 9.2%
35-44 1,383,240 165.5%

Given the high rate of adoption for the 35-44 age group, it won’t be long until they are the 3rd largest population. How can this be?

I hypothesize that it comes down to total population size. According to the US Census Bureau the total size of the age groups are as follows:

Age Group Count (Millions)
13-17 17,940
18-25 20,445
26-34 23,448
35-44 30,789
Total 92,622

It is not surprising to find that the 35-44 year olds are the largest population. What do you think is reason behind Facebook’s exploding 35-44 year old demographic? If you use FreeCause’s Facebook App (comes standard with Sphere integration) to acquire new donors or constituents, would you mind sharing their age breakdown?

*Of course I use the term “old people” relatively.

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