The gender and age breakdown of video gamers might surprise you

While many people often think that young men dominate the video-game community, a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows otherwise.

The study found that 49 percent of U.S. adults are playing video games, whether in the form of PC, console, or mobile device gaming. Within that 49 percent, the percentages of men and women playing games are roughly equal.

Maeve Duggan, the lead researcher of the study, told the Daily Dot that that wasn’t all too shocking. Since the video-game industry has gained so much popularity, she said, it’s no surprise that the gamer population is so broad.

“I was surprised, however, about age,” Duggan said. “Younger people are most

likely to play video games, but older people are also playing games.”

As expected, young (aged 18 to 29) male adults make up the biggest demographic of game players (77 percent of them play video games). But older adults make up a substantial amount as well, with 58 percent of adults ages 30 to 49, 40 percent of adults ages 50 to 64, and 25 percent of adults ages 65 and up playing video games.

The survey also sought to determine who among these game-players self-identified as “gamers.” The researchers described a “gamer” as “a fan of gaming or frequent game player” and asked respondents if they personally felt like the term described them. “We decided to define ‘gamer’ in this way on purpose, that it was a self identification rather than using some other

sort of criteria to put people into a category,” Duggan said.

Of all the age categories, the biggest disparity between men and women gamers was in the 18-to-29-year-old category, in which 33 percent of men identified as gamers compared to only 9 percent of women. However, among game players aged 50 and older, men and women identified at roughly equal rates, with four and three percent respectively.

The survey also collected a wide range of respondents’ attitudes toward video games. Researchers asked about the relationship between violence and behavior, portrayal of women and minorities in video games, and whether video games promoted valuable life skills like communication and teamwork.

Duggan said the survey had two main objectives. “We wanted to get a pretty broad read on who’s playing video games,” she said. “But our second objective was to find out how many people are incorporating games into their lives in perhaps a more substantial way.”

Photo via Terry Presley/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Sherry Tucci

Sherry Tucci

Sherry Tucci is a fandom reporter who specializes in Korean pop culture and anime. In addition to her work at the Daily Dot, her reporting has appeared in the Daily Texan.