CHICAGO (Reuters) - Social media usage among American adults has ballooned in the past decade with about two-thirds now on social networking sites, Pew Research Center said on Thursday.
The 65 percent of adults in the United States using social media is up from 46 percent in 2010 and just 7 percent in 2005, the year Pew began tracking usage.
Since the early 2000s, social media sites on the Internet have surged in popularity, from Friendster and Myspace to Facebook and Twitter, among others.
Social networking has evolved from people “poking” each other and connecting with one another to law enforcement agencies and national leaders using the sites to disseminate information.
For its findings on Thursday, Pew analyzed 27 national surveys of Americans, about 47,000 interviews among adult Internet users and about 62,000 interviews among all adults conducted from March 2005 to July 2015. Margins of error were up to plus or minus 3.9 percent.
Pew said the overall number of users of social networks has leveled off but there continues to be growth among some groups who were not early adopters, such as older Americans.
Social media use among those 65 and older has more than tripled to 35 percent since 2010, when just 11 percent used social media.
Those 18 to 29 years old are most likely to use social media and 90 percent of them use it today, compared to 78 percent in 2010, Pew said. In addition, Pew said usage among those aged 30 to 49 is up from 53 percent in 2010 to 77 percent this year.
Women began using social media more than men in 2009 but the difference has shrunk in recent years, Pew said, with 68 of women using social media in 2015, compared to 62 percent of men. These figures are up since 2010, when 50 percent of women and 42 percent of men used social media.
Those in higher-income households and those with at least some college experience have been more likely to use social media, according to Pew.
Historically, adults who live in rural communities have been the least likely to use social media, Pew said.
Pew said there are no notable differences in social media use among racial or ethnic groups - 65 percent of both whites and Hispanics and 56 percent of African Americans currently use social media.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Bill Trott