U.S. Drone Survey Reveals Intriguing Trends

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Federal Aviation Administration estimates more than 2 million drones are in use across the U.S. as of year’s end 2019. Of those, around 1.3 million are owned for recreational use. Philly by Air, a leader in drone photography, cinematic-grade aerial photography and video services, recently completed a comprehensive survey of 1,050 Americans. The results show that, while a gender gap exists among drone users, the same gap tightens when it comes to actual drone ownership.

“We wanted to find out to what extent drone use and ownership has elevated into the mainstream,” Philly by Air founder and CEO Matt Satell. “We’re also interested in discovering how many Americans have ever flown or currently own a drone.”

Overall Results

  • Based on a survey of 1,050 subjects, Philly by Air’s study found:
  • Only one of every seven Americans (roughly 14% ) has ever flown a drone.


  • Men use drones more than women by more than a 2:1 ratio – 24% vs. 10% .
  • The gender gap narrowed when it comes to UAV ownership – 9% for men vs. 7% for women.


  • Middle age people are more likely to own drones.
  • 10% of UAV users are between 35-44.
  • However, ages 25-34 and 55-63 are not far behind at 9%, respectively.
  • For seniors, drone ownership dropped to 4% (65+).
  • In terms of usage, the 45-54 demographic spiked at 22%.
  • Younger age segments held steady for drone usage with a range of 17-20%.

With the FAA projecting recreational drone ownership to soar to 1.4 million by 2024, these trends may change, perhaps distributing more evenly across young to middle age demographics.

“These numbers will likely increase as drones continue to become more affordable,” Satell added.

Two trends that may bolster drone usage and ownership are the growth of drone racing and efforts to attract more women into the drone sphere. Networks such as Women and Drones, are seeking to place more women into drone industry positions as well as empowering girls to learn more about unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other STEM topics.

“We’ll be interested to see if the gender gap on drone usage is narrowed as more organizations promote STEM education for women.”

With, most major sporting events postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, organizations like the Drone Racing League are filling the gap by offering a virtual drone racing series in cooperation with game-streaming service Steam.

“Drone racing has been a big driver of recreational drone usage over the past few years,” Satell said.

Media Contac

  • Matt Satell, CEO | matt@phillybyair.com

About Philly by Air

Found in 2014, by Matt Satell, Philly by Air provides next-level drone aerial photography and videography across the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. Philly by Air project scope includes commercial real estate, golf courses, industrial, construction, inspections, healthcare, education and film. Satell notes: “I’ve always been passionate about technology. Having the unique opportunity to leverage drone tech to capture unique perspectives and views that were previously science fiction really excites and energizes me. I think that shows in our work.”