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A method for estimating individual socioeconomic status of Twitter users

He, Yuanmo and Tsvetkova, Milena ORCID: 0000-0002-3552-108X (2023) A method for estimating individual socioeconomic status of Twitter users. Sociological Methods and Research. ISSN 0049-1241

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00491241231168665


The rise of social media has opened countless opportunities to explore social science questions with new data and methods. However, research on socioeconomic inequality remains constrained by limited individual-level socioeconomic status (SES) measures in digital trace data. Following Bourdieu, we argue that the commercial and entertainment accounts Twitter users follow reflect their economic and cultural capital. Adapting a political science method for inferring political ideology, we use correspondence analysis to estimate the SES of 3,482,652 Twitter users who follow the accounts of 339 brands in the United States. We validate our estimates with data from the Facebook Marketing application programming interface, self-reported job titles on users’ Twitter profiles, and a small survey sample. The results show reasonable correlations with the standard proxies for SES, alongside much weaker or nonsignificant correlations with other demographic variables. The proposed method opens new opportunities for innovative social research on inequality on Twitter and similar online platforms.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2023 15:12
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 20:48

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