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Social Connectedness Index

The Social Connectedness Index measures the strength of connectedness between two geographic areas as represented by Facebook friendship ties. These connections can reveal important insights about economic opportunities, social mobility, trade and more.

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Friendship Data

The Social Connectedness Index offers a new type of data to the research and non-profit community, measuring the frequency and density of friendship and social ties around the world, a type of data that has rarely been made available to those interested in understanding how relationships affect social outcomes.

Global Reach

With over 2.5 billion active users globally, the Social Connectedness Index from Facebook provides the first comprehensive measure of social networks at an international level.


The index provides researchers with connectedness scores, but not the number of links between two places or any of the underlying data. The data set uses sampling, differential privacy noise, and normalization to protect privacy.

By making granular geographical data on social connections available, Facebook is helping researchers and policymakers understand the role of information networks on how people respond in this COVID-19 public health crisis. Not only can the data help in identifying and even potentially predicting infection clusters, but it can also help policymakers understand the extent to which social capital and online interactions between different areas can facilitate social distancing, slowing the spread of COVID-19 by having people interact online instead.”

Ben Charoenwong, Assistant Professor of Finance at the National University of Singapore

Who Uses the Social Connectedness Index

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Universities and Researchers

Researchers and universities can use the Index to see whether there is a relationship between social connectedness and socioeconomic trends like trade, migration or the spread of disease.


Nonprofits interested in understanding how social ties affect resilience after events like natural disasters and other shocks can benefit from these data.


We use aggregated friendship connections on Facebook to measure social connectedness between geographies. Locations are assigned to users based on information they provide, connection information, and location services they have opted into (to learn more about how Facebook uses location data and how to control location privacy see Location Privacy Basics).   We use these friendships to estimate the probability a pair of users in these countries are Facebook friends (we rescale based on the population of two regions) and map this to an index score called the Social Connectedness Index (SCI). If the SCI is twice as large between two pairs of regions, it means the users in the first region-pair. are about twice as likely to be connected than the second region-pair. More details on the methodology can be found by clicking Learn More below, or in the paper Social Connectedness: Measurement, Determinants, and Effects published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

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Case Studies

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Start working with the Social Connectedness Index

Check out the Facebook Social Connectedness Index, available for download on the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Humanitarian Data Exchange. To reference this data, please use the following citation:
M. Bailey, R. Cao, T. Kuchler, J. Stroebel, and A. Wong. Social connectedness: Measurements, determinants, and effects. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 32(3):259–80, 2018b.and the Facebook Data for Good Program, Social Connectedness Index (SCI)., Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR."

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