11 March 2010

The Facebook gender gap

I have been looking for some time now for a page that displays statistics, because I like to keep track of the evolution and maybe discover some interesting facts. Today I have finally found such a site, while reading something not completely unrelated. After checking out the numbers for Romania, I stumbled upon the data for Turkey. It struck me that there where a lot more male users there compared to the general trend in social networks, or in Romania for that matter.

I decided to do a quick comparison for the 20 countries with the most users. The results are pretty interesting as you can see in the table below. I calculated the gap between male and female users as a percentage of the total number of Facebook users for that country. Countries with a gap larger than 5% are highlighted in red for female dominance and blue for male dominance.

As you can see, more than half (11 countries) have a balanced proportion of male and female users, with Germany leading in terms of “Facebook gender equality”. This is the expected situation if there are no disturbing factors, as the total population is more or less evenly distributed between the two genders.

The biggest outliers are all found on the right side of the graph, meaning the number of male users in those countries (India in the first place, followed by Turkey and Indonesia) is bigger than the number of females. I’m not sure how to interpret this: it could be caused by a number of social and cultural factors limiting the access of women to the Internet or the social networks. Or these countries could be more conservative about the role of women in the society. Curiously, the Facebook statistics for Italy is also biased towards males. That could negate the previous tentative explanation for the divide, or have entirely different causes.

What do you think? Are those numbers really a sign of cultural differences or just random and will become more even as the network grows?


  1. Umm..very interesting. I never thought about it. Regarding your question, in the case of Italy, probably the Facebook awareness isn't as big as in the other european countries so I think that the balance will change with time, but in Turkey, India an so on it's clearly influnced by their religion beliefs.
    I remember when I used to have a hi5 account and there were so many Arabian people there ( >80% men). All excepting Turkey where people now are more open-minded, students go in exxchange programs all around the world, so they have more chances than the others..

  2. I'm really surprised that the USA isn't more even across the genders. I wonder what the guys are doing on their PCs instead!

  3. There is another study about sex and age distribution that shows that the male/female gap in the US is shrinking and that female users lead especially in the older age groups:
    Facebook’s February 2010 US Traffic by Age and Sex: All Groups Growing, Men More Quickly.