Washington: An estimated 1.61 billion people, more than one in five globally, will log in to social networking sites at least monthly this year, the research firm eMarketer has said.
The study said the number was up 14.2 per cent from a year ago and growth will push that number up to 2.33 billion by 2017.
The highest penetration of social network users, according to eMarketer, is in the Netherlands, at 63.5 per cent. Norway was second at 63.3 per cent, followed by Sweden (56.4 per cent), South Korea (54.4 per cent), Denmark (53.3 per cent), the United States (51.7 per cent) and Finland (51.3 per cent).
A majority of residents were also on social networks in Canada (51.2 per cent) and Britain (50.2 per cent, according to the report based on data from research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports.
The 1.61 billion figure represented 22 per cent of the world`s estimated population, the survey said yesterday.
The report said India is seeing the highest growth this year of 37.4 per cent, though only 7.7 per cent of the population uses social networks. Indonesia`s numbers will climb 28.7 per cent and Mexico will grow by 21.1 per cent. eMarketer said.
All three of those countries are also high-growth areas for Facebook, the world`s largest social network with more than one billion users.
The US remains the country with the greatest number of Facebook users, at 146.8 million, but with India`s large population and expected growth rate, it will have the largest Facebook population of any country by 2016, according to the report.