Updated March 30, 2017 — Just over half of the world’s 7.5 billion population is online. Of those, 2.8 billion use social media, and 90 percent do so on their mobile phones—and no one more than Latin Americans—according to a January report from Hootsuite and We Are Social. Argentines, Brazilians, and Mexicans spend not just the most amount of time on social media in the region, but they’re among the top five in the world. In the subregional breakdown (which places Mexico in Central America), South America has the highest number of social media users in the Western Hemisphere at 250 million, and 59 percent of people counting as social media users. On the other hand 66 percent of Americans and Canadians use social media, for a total of 237 million users. Central America places third with 51 percent social media penetration and 112 million users.
In fact, whether it’s Argentines on Twitter, Brazilians on WhatsApp, or Peruvians on Instagram, people in the Western Hemisphere are far more likely to be social media users than anywhere else in the world. Some 60 percent of people in the Americas make use of some kind of social network, compared to 49 percent in Europe—the region accounting for the next highest rate of social media use. And, as the Americas are the region with the largest percentage of people with mobile devices, there’s a good chance they’re accessing those networks on a handheld device.
AS/COA Online takes a look at social media use in the Western Hemisphere.
Editor’s note: A shareline for this article previously indicated that 60 percent of people in the Americas use social media on mobile devices. The correct figure is 53 percent.