Since Instagram first launched back in 2010, one of the only constants amongst Instagram demographics is that they’ve been continuously changing.
For the most part, this has been in the form of rising user numbers. Like Facebook before it (Instagram’s parent company), the worldwide popularity of this app has exploded in recent years. And the trend doesn’t look set to stop any time soon.
The actual specifics of who uses Instagram, how often they use it, and why they use it continue to shift too. If you thought you knew everything about Instagram users a few years ago, then we’ve got some bad news for you—your information is woefully out of date.
In this article, we’ll get you fully caught up with Instagram’s user demographics in 2021. Let’s get started.
Instagram isn’t a new social network by any means. It’s been in existence for nearly a decade now, having first launched in 2010. For reference, Snapchat wouldn’t be released for another year, Pinterest had launched just a few months previously, and Twitter had “only” 54 million users at the time (it now has around 326 million, per Omnicore Agency). In short, the social media landscape was very different back then.
Still, the signs of Instagram’s ludicrous success were clear to see early on, as it managed to attract an impressive 30 million users within less than two years. It’s no wonder that Facebook saw a compelling opportunity in these Instagram users’ statistics, and swiftly snapped up Instagram for a cool $1 billion.
Clearly, that early success wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Far from flaring out, Instagram’s popularity around the world has continued to soar—between 2012 and 2018, it achieved a ridiculous 233% growth in its user numbers.
Clearly something about Instagram held mass appeal, enough to persuade a hefty chunk of the world’s population to sign up. Given the rate at which Instagram continues to add new users, it won’t be any surprise whatsoever if these Instagram user demographics from 2018 look pretty puny a few years from now.
The numbers we’ve already looked at might seem pretty eye-opening, but we’d actually argue this is the most impressive of any of Instagram’s stats. There’s a whole load of reasons why people might sign up for something in the first place, particularly if it’s free, with the most likely being that they just want to see what all the fuss is about.
These Instagram demographics from 2018 show that this social network doesn’t just attract new users, it keeps a full 50% of them coming back every single day. Whatever your interest in Instagram—whether you’re a social media marketing agency or you’re looking to build your own brand—this shows you that Instagram’s user base is extremely active.
We were just talking about Instagram's active user base, and it doesn’t get much more active than this! Not only do half of all Instagram users check the app daily; a full 38% of them do so multiple times per day.
You can look at these Instagram demographic analytics in a few different ways. Perhaps people like to be the first to get all the latest news and announcements they care about. Perhaps they’re trying to monetize their IG presence through an affiliate platform, thus checking how their posts are performing. Perhaps they’re part of one of the millions of conversations happening on Instagram at any given time. Whatever the reason, this definitively shows just how committed Instagram users are to the app.
When social networks fail to keep adding interesting new features, they risk losing users pretty quickly (*cough Myspace cough*). Instagram was doing just fine before it introduced Stories back in August 2016. But by bringing a short-lived immediacy to people’s posts, Stories took things to a whole other level—even if it was just copying Snapchat.
For the purposes of analyzing who is on Instagram, the fact that a full 80% of all active users use Stories every day is pretty telling. It shows us that this is a user base who is more than willing to embrace new features, and use them effectively. This might have more than a little to do with its user base’s relative youth (more on that coming right up).
We doubt this will surprise too many of you out there, given that Instagram is viewed as a key part of millennial culture. In fact, you could well expect this number to be higher! Still, this age group is often portrayed as always looking for the next shiny new thing. It’s pretty darn impressive that the app has managed to continue building its popularity within this demographic, such that there are now half a billion millennials on Instagram around the world. As we’ll see in the following stat, the 18–34 age bracket makes up a full 63% of all users.
Given the extent to which Instagram is associated with teen culture (more on that shortly), this is another statistic that might surprise you. Regardless, 25–34-year-olds make up the largest single chunk of Instagram’s user base, which is more than any other age bracket. 18–24-year-olds (which is a shorter age range, of course) trail narrowly behind in terms of Instagram users by age, with 31% of total users. Either side of that, the numbers take a nosedive. 13–17-year-olds make up 6.4%, and 35–44-year-olds equate to 16%.
While this age bracket doesn’t cover a huge chunk of Instagram’s overall numbers (mostly because it’s a very narrow age range), it simply can’t be ignored when we’re looking at Instagram users by age. No other statistic comes close to conveying what a key part of teen culture Instagram has become. When almost three-quarters of an age group share a common interest, it clearly encompasses an enormous range of other demographics, be they related to gender, race, or background.
Again, this statistic probably plays into your preconceived notions about Instagram demographics. Basically, if you guessed that older generations didn’t make up a particularly big chunk of Instagram’s users, you were right!
Of course, just because this is a very low percentage doesn’t necessarily make it a low number. After all, 5% of a billion (Instagram’s total number of users) is still equivalent to a pretty hefty 50 million people. It’s clear to see, therefore, that even if they make up a small fraction of the overall Instagram audience demographics, in reality there are plenty of 55-and-overs on the app.
One of the most interesting trends to watch in social media over the past 15 years or so was how the age of Facebook’s user base kept rising. Nowadays, 72% of people aged 50–64 are on Facebook.
It’s fair to say that this trend has definitely not been replicated on Instagram. 21% of an age group this large is nothing to be sniffed at, but it still trails behind the equivalent chunk of Facebook’s audience by a whopping 51%. It’ll be interesting to see whether the average age of Instagram users also increases over time, but for now it’s definitely a younger person’s app.
Given some of the stats we’ve already thrown your way, you might actually be a little surprised that Instagram isn’t the most popular choice for social media–loving teenagers! You may be even more surprised to learn that it isn’t even close. Even the all-conquering Facebook doesn’t take the top spot.
Snapchat is actually the most popular social network among teenagers, with a full 47% of those surveyed listing it as their favorite platform. The Instagram user demographics lag far behind at a still-respectable 24%, with Facebook languishing in third with only 9% of the vote.
We’ve already established that a significant chunk of Instagram users—38%, to be exact—use the app multiple times per day. This latest stat makes it clear that the 25-and-unders aren’t just quickly checking their notifications and closing the app again. They’re actually spending a significant chunk of their day on it. Whether they’re posting their own content or checking out other people’s, this particular age range of Instagram users spends an excess of half an hour each day on the app.
There’s no standout, obvious “reason” why Instagram appeals more to female users, but as we can see, it clearly does. On average, 4/10 of all women in the United States—regardless of their age—use Instagram, which is significantly more than the number of men who do so. While there are definitely nuances to take into account when looking at Instagram users by gender (which we’ll get into very shortly), this is still an important stat to remember.
This fact helps to hammer home the superior popularity Instagram enjoys with women over men. Statista used seven age groups to break down Instagram’s demographics, which range in size from smaller brackets like 13–17, to larger ones like 45–54. Regardless of those bracket sizes, though, Instagram tends to attract women more than men.
Interestingly, the closest brackets are in the millennial portion of the user base. There’s a 50/50 split among 25–34-year-olds, and men actually edge out women in the 18–24 range by 1%. After that, the divide becomes more prominent. 8.9% of the total Instagram users are women aged 35–44, for example, compared to only 7.1% of men.
When you bear our earlier Instagram gender statistics in mind—particularly the gender divide between women and men in the US—this is a very interesting factoid indeed. The divide for all users who’ve signed up may have been sizable. However, among the users who are actually active, there’s almost no gap whatsoever between males and females.
For people looking to use Instagram for any kind of commercial purpose, this should serve as a warning. Anecdotally, Instagram is generally seen as an app that’s considerably more popular with women. But if we were to ask, What percent of active Instagram users are female? The answer is almost exactly 50%.
It’s important to keep our previous warning in mind. People who are looking to make money from Instagram can make some generalizations. While the gender split is not as pronounced as some people make out, this statistic shows that a huge portion of Instagram’s active users are still women aged 44 or under. Taking the overall active Instagram demographics to encompass 500 million people, 43% equates to a massive 215 million people, which is a pretty big audience in anyone’s book!
Considering that a sizable pay divide undeniably exists in the working world (women earn $0.80 for every $1 men earn in the US, according to a report by Forbes), this is an interesting example of how Instagram demographics differ from the wider world.
It doesn’t just represent a more level playing field, but actually flips the trend on its head, with female celebrities making up a full 70% of the 20 most popular Instagram accounts in the world. Whether they’re being viewed as role models or simply as great content producers, it’s clear that female Instagram celebrities hold a broader mass appeal.
We’ve danced around this fact a little already by looking at the overall user numbers for the app. This statistic really helps put things in perspective and gives us an idea of the staggering scale of Instagram’s mainstream success. Taking into account all the people on earth (regardless of country, background, wealth, or any other factor), what percentage of the world has Instagram? It’s a full 16% of the population.
Instagram has a reputation for being a pretty American product. Considering one of its two founders is American, its parent company is American, and 15 of the 20 most popular accounts are owned by Americans, it’s not exactly hard to see why! In truth, though, the vast majority of Instagram’s users live outside the US. You probably already knew that Instagram was quite successful, but these Instagram users demographics really help illustrate the worldwide nature of that success.
Americans don’t just form the single biggest user base, they’re also responsible for a comfortable majority of the app’s most popular accounts. The only non-Americans to crack the top 10 are footballers Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar. If we blow this out to the top 20, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj round out the group of 5 non-Americans. Plus, 6 of the top 9 agency accounts (Nike, NASA, and so on), also belong to American companies. Given American pop culture’s dominance over much of the world, this look at Instagram by the numbers probably won’t especially surprise you!
We’re guessing this statistic concerns the higher-ups at Instagram as one they’d like to change sooner rather than later. India is the second most populous country in the world, and represents one of the fastest-growing social network markets too.
In 2015, there were an estimated 142 million social media users in the country. By 2018, that number had shot up by a staggering 130% to 326 million. This incredible rise has not, however, been reflected in the Instagram demographics in India. Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger all rank higher.
For centuries, those living in urban areas have been more in tune with the zeitgeist, and quicker to embrace new technological trends. It’s no different with Instagram, where a hefty 42% of all adults living in American cities are on Instagram. Given how incomes tend to be higher in urban areas, Instagram user demographics like these should be music to the ears of advertisers.
As we touched upon, there’s typically a gap in the speed at which suburban and rural areas embrace trends, compared to those living in urban communities. This is certainly the case with Instagram use, as we see a steady decline in the app’s penetration the further we move away from urban hubs. The drop-off from urban to suburban usage is 8%, and it’s subsequently another 9% to rural adults.
We were extremely surprised to come across this statistic. To be honest, we’re not sure what to make of it! Instagram clearly has no trouble attracting the higher earners out there, but for some reason it struggles to appeal anywhere near as much to those earning $30K or less. 30% of a pretty large demographic is nothing to sniff at, of course, but a 30% drop-off in usage compared to people earning $100K or more is pretty startling.
This is another of the Instagram demographics that will no doubt delight the entrepreneurs and businesses who want to use Instagram commercially. The popular perception of Instagram is that it’s just for teenagers or millennials—people who, generally speaking, often won’t be earning too much money yet! This shows that, just as Instagram has a broader age range than you might think, it’s also managed to spread across a wide range of incomes. Alongside our aforementioned lower-income earners, there’s also a considerable majority of those making above-average salaries on Instagram.
Advertising has been one of the driving factors behind Facebook’s colossal financial success for many years now, and this tendency now targets the Instagram user base too. Every business worth its salt has a website and a Facebook page nowadays, and having an Instagram account is starting to enter the same zone.
Clearly this is working, because as we can see here, a full four-fifths of Instagram users follow at least one business. In turn, this gives those businesses a chance to advertise in a visually appealing, often innovative way.
We’ve already covered a couple of stats that will put a smile on the face of the business people among you, but this might be the pick of the bunch. Like blogs before it, Instagram—along with other social media platforms—has become a key part of inbound marketing.
Users feel like they have a meaningful relationship with many of the people they follow. In turn, they’re willing to listen when those people recommend something. We’d bet that’s where the majority of these purchases came from. Regardless, when so much of a user base has bought something they’ve seen on a platform, we’d call that platform a pretty significant commercial success.
Instagram has managed a meteoric rise to fame in a relatively short period of time. As we’ve seen with these Instagram demographics, that success only looks set to continue in the years to come. The main driving factor behind Instagram’s incredible achievements is the sheer variety of its user base. While it certainly appears more popular with some demographics than others, overall it has achieved the rare feat of appealing to massive numbers of people across the divides of age, location, and income.