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Social media usage is diverging in the U.S. between the country's more affluent and less well-off teenagers, according to a new study on Thursday.
The social media behemoth of Facebook still rules the roost for teenagers with 71 percent of all teens reporting use of the platform. But drilling down into the socio-economic status of these young people reveals that alternatives like Snapchat and Twitter are more popular among those from wealthier households.
"There are some interesting differentials in the most frequently-used social platforms, with lower-income teens using Facebook more often, while wealthier teens—while still using Facebook—are more likely than less wealthy teens to report that they use Snapchat or Twitter most often," Amanda Lenhart, the associate director for research at the Pew Research Center said in a new report released on Thursday morning.
The online survey was given to a nationally representative sample of just over 1,000 teens aged between 13 and 17 alongside a parent or guardian, according to Pew. Fifty-one percent of teens from households that earn less than $30,000 annually said that they used Facebook most often. This compares to 35 percent of teenagers from households that earn between $75,000 and $99,999 and just 31 percent from families with incomes of over $100,000.
Among the less-affluent teens, 7 percent said they used Snapchat the most and only 3 percent opting for Twitter. However, 15 percent of the most well-off said they used Snapchat the most and 8 percent for Twitter.
Still relatively new, Snapchat has been on the social media scene for the last few years and reportedly turned down a $3 billion cash offer from Facebook in 2013. This came after the social media giant—founded by Mark Zuckerberg—bought Instagram for $1 billion the year before.
Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to send messages that are erased after a few seconds, although in practice there are workarounds available to capture the images. Two-in-five American teens—or 41 percent—use Snapchat to share images and videos, according to Pew, and this data appears to show it is tapping into a lucrative market of more-affluent teens.
"By a wide margin, girls and older teens are the most likely to send snaps—with half of girls using the service, compared with 31 percent of boys. Similarly, 47 percent of older teens 15 to 17 send snaps, while 31 percent of younger teens do so," according to the study.
"Older girls are the most likely of any teen group to use to service, with 56 percent using Snapchat."