40% of Young Online African-Americans Use Twitter

January 8, 2014

Pew-Comparison-Blacks-Whites-SocNet-and-Twitter-Adoption-Jan2014The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has released a “demographic portrait” [pdf] of internet usage by African Americans, containing some very intriguing data. Among the interesting findings: the extent to which young African-American internet users have adopted Twitter. While a recent report from Pew highlighted the popularity of Twitter among African-Americans overall, this study goes a step further, examining usage by age.

According to the survey results, 22% of online blacks use Twitter, compared to 16% of online whites. (While the exact figures differ from Pew’s other report, the demographic pattern is much the same.) The discrepancy between whites and blacks is particularly acute in the 18-29-year-old age group, with 40% of blacks claiming to use Twitter compared to 28% of whites.

In fact, young online blacks are more likely than their white counterparts to use social networking sites in general. Fully 96% do so, compared to 90% of whites.

Aside from social networking adoption, the study takes a broader look at internet usage and mobile access among blacks in comparison to whites. There are some very interesting disparities, listed below:

  • White adults are almost 9% more likely than black adults to use the internet (87% vs. 80%);
  • A sizable 55% of black adults aged 65+ do not use the internet, compared to 37% of white adults of that age;
  • Just 63% of black adults who have not attended college use the internet, compared to 74% of whites with that level of educational attainment;
  • White adults are almost 20% more likely than black adults to have broadband internet access at home (74% vs. 62%);
  • Only 30% of blacks aged 65+ have broadband internet access at home, compared to 51% of whites of that age;
  • Black women are 14% more likely than white women to own a smartphone (58% vs. 51%);
  • While there is no statistically significant difference in overall smartphone ownership between black and white adults, blacks with a college education and those with household income of less than $75k are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to own a smartphone;
  • White adults are 17% more likely than black adults to own a tablet (34% vs. 29%) and 24% more likely to own an e-reader (26% vs. 21%).

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 6,010 American adults, including 664 who identify as African American.

Interviews were conducted via landline (n=3,122) and cell phone (n=3,102, including 1,588 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The interviews were administered in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from July 18 to September 30, 2013. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for results based on the complete set of weighted data is ±1.4 percentage points. Results based on the 5,320 internet users have a margin of sampling error of ±1.5 percentage points.

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