Black Millennials Are Changing the Face of Social Media and Bridging the Digital Divide.

Black Women Smart Phone Social Media

News that popular app Vine would closing for good caused quite an uproar on social media last week. The series of compilation articles and retrospective hashtags that followed confirmed what most of us already knew — young black people have a major influence on social media.

According to Young, Connected and Black, a special series of reports compiled by the Nielsen Company, “Black millennials are 11.5 million strong and leading a viral vanguard that is driving African-Americans’ innovative use of mobile technology and closing the digital divide.”

Black millennials, who often use social media for the purposes of social activism and political discussion, are considered a driving factor in the upcoming election.

According to Nielsen,

The 83.1 million U.S. Millennials are considered a key voting bloc this November. Black Millennials represent 14% of all Millennials and 25% of the total Black population. The top five markets for Black Millennials (by population) are New York, Atlanta, Chicago, D.C. and South Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale). Weeks before the 2016 presidential race, the power of the Black electorate is a particular point of interest given the records set in 2012 when, bolstered by its Millennial population, African-Americans had the highest rate of voter registration and voter turnout of any demographic group in the U.S.

The 2016 report also takes an in-depth look at the media and entertainment viewing habits of black millennials, who also account for a large number of smartphone owners.

Here are some key highlights:

African-Americans are Closing the Digital Divide

● African-American Millennials are 25% more likely than all Millennials to say they are among the first of their friends/colleagues to try new technology products.
● As smartphone owners, African-Americans (91%) are second only to Asian-Americans (94%).
● 91% of African Americans say they access the Internet on a mobile device, an increase from 86% in 2015, which further cements their status as digital leaders.

A Viral Vanguard: Social media engagement

● 55% of Black Millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social networking sites, which is 6% higher than all Millennials, while 29% say they spend at least three hours a day, 9% higher than all Millennials.
● 28% of African Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least one hour per day, which is 2% higher than the total population in this age group. Ten percent of African-Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least three hours per day, which is 2% higher than the total population age 35+).

Voracious Content Consumers

● African-American Millennials watch nearly 33 hours of live and DVR time-shifted television per week, about 12 and half more hours per week than total Millennials.
● African-American Millennials spend about two hours more per week (eight hours and 29 minutes versus six hours and 28 minutes) using the internet on PCs, and about an hour more weekly (three hours and 47 minutes versus two hours and 33 minutes) watching video on PCs than total Millennials.

Education advancements of Black Millennials

● 89% of African Americans ages 25-34 completed high school, compared to 77% of Black Americans ages 55 and older.
● 21% of African Americans ages 25-34 have an associate’s college degree or higher, versus 17% of those who are 55 and older.

African-American incomes and spending power

● Overall Black spending power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.
● From 2004 – 20014 the number of Black households with annual incomes of $50,000 – $75,000 increased 18% compared to 2% for the total U.S. For Black households earning $100,000+ annually, the increase between 2004 and 2014 was 95%, compared with 66% for the total population.
● The share of Black households with an income less than $25,000 declined from 43% in 2004 to 37% of the total African-American population in 2014.

Read the entire 2016 Nielsen Report HERE.