Web Insight: do you have online friends you have never met in person?

As the internet’s role in our lives continues to grow, many of us are acquiring more online friends, including people we have never met in person.

How many online friends do you have whom you have never met in person? We have asked this question in the Center’s Digital Future Survey since the year 2000.

The overall trend has been upward. Internet users in our survey had, on average, 3.1 online friends whom they have never met in person when we first asked this question in 2000.

With some year-to-year variation, the average moved upward and surpassed 10 for the first time in 2012 (with 11.1 average friends).

In 2014 the average was 18.6 friends, and has been within the 17/18 range since.

(For findings on online friends met in person, go here.)


See all Web Insights.

October 7, 2019