Immigrant media question

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Most Popular Digital Media Platforms used by Immigrants.

Data on digital media usage is mostly conducted at a national level, not local. Demographic breakdowns of usage at a national level are available by racial group, but not by country of origin or immigration status. We were able to find some information on the preferences of black and Hispanic users, the preferences of urban users, and on social networking preferences in New York City, which you will find in the write-up below.


In order to respond to your request, we searched through numerous market research reports on digital media usage, looking for any that broke the data down to the level of detail you are looking for. When this was unsuccessful, we tried to find reports that contained individual pieces of the data puzzle, in the hopes of being able to synthesize an answer. However, this yielded little more. Publicly available demographic information focuses more on age than on any other factor. We were able to find a study conducted earlier this year that identifies preferences by race and location (urban/ rural), but this is as far as the detail goes.

We also searched through trusted media sites, hoping to find articles that contained information on New York's digital media preferences, but none of those got us any closer to our goal. There was one data source for the city, however it does not provide demographic information. The source is also more than five years old, which means that it predates newer favorites like WhatsApp or SnapChat.

Nonetheless, we have included it here in the interests of providing a more detailed picture.


The most popular digital media platforms in the United States are YouTube (used by 73% of Americans surveyed), Facebook (used by 68%) and Instagram (used by 35%).

Both blacks and Hispanics are more engaged with these platforms than whites, except Pinterest. Blacks have the highest engagement on Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn and Twitter, and exceed the national average for engagement in all platforms except for Pinterest and WhatsApp.

One interesting detail among Hispanic respondents is that nearly half, 49%, use WhatsApp, far more than any other group. This app is popular in Latin America, and that popularity has carried over to the United States.

Users in urban areas were more engaged than those in suburban or rural ones across all platforms except Pinterest, where engagement is highest among suburban users.

The only information available on New York City (from 2012) indicates that the most popular social media sites were Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, Facebook had more than three times the number of daily visits than LinkedIn in second place. Also, this study does not include digital media sites like YouTube, only social media.


There are 3.3 million immigrants in New York City, which is 75% of the 4.4 million who live in the state. (92% of the state's immigrants live either in the city or on Long Island.) Immigrants account for 46% of the working population in New York City, and nearly 40% of the total population.

The most common country of birth among immigrants (13.7% or 453,176) is the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is third (behind China), with 5.6% or 185,681. Colombians account for 2.1% or 69,777. The Philippines is the country of origin of 2% or 65,657. The most common African countries of origin are Nigeria and Ghana, both of which represent a little under 1% of the immigrant population of the city.


There is no conclusive information on the digital media preferences of immigrant groups within New York City. However, national data indicates that black and Hispanic users (both American- and foreign-born) have higher levels of engagement with almost all platforms, and urban dwellers have higher levels of engagement than those in the suburbs or the country. Across the United States, the most frequently used platforms, by a considerable margin, are YouTube and Facebook.