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ATLANTA – Feb. 19, 2014 – The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducts a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) that looks at the use of phones by American households.
Judging by the latest numbers, more than half of U.S. households will not have a landline at all if current trends hold – and a majority of younger households have already cut off their landline in favor of using only cellphones.
Preliminary results from the latest survey were released in December. According to NHIS, two in every five American homes (39.4%) had only wireless telephones (cellular telephones, cell phones or mobile phones) during the first half of 2013 – an increase of 1.2 percentage points since the second half of 2012.
And of the homes that still have a landline, many are not used. Nearly one of every six American homes (15.7%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline.
The presence of a home landline varied by age and demographic group. In the first six months of 2013, two in every five households (39.4%) did not have a landline but did have at least one wireless phone. Approximately 38% of all adults (about 90 million adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; 45.4% of all children lived in households with only wireless telephones.
The percentage of adults and children living without telephone service at all has remained relatively unchanged for the past three years – about 2.3% of all households.
• Nearly two-thirds of adults aged 25–29 (65.6%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is greater than the rates for those aged 18–24 (54.3%) or 30–34 (59.9%). The percentage of adults in households with only wireless telephones decreased as the homeowners age increased: 44.5% for those aged 35-44; 29.8% for those aged 45-64; and 12.6% for those aged 65 and over.
• Three in four adults living with unrelated adult roommates (74.7%) had only wireless telephones. The rate is higher than the rates for adults living alone (46.4%) and for adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (29.6%).
• Three in five adults living in rented homes (61.5%) had only wireless telephones – more than twice the rate for adults living in homes they owned (27.2%).
• Adults living in poverty (54.7%) were more likely than adults living near poverty (47.5%) and higher income adults (35.3%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
• Men (39.7%) were more likely than women (36.5%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
• Hispanic adults (49.9%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white (35.1%) or non-Hispanic black (39.4%) adults to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
• Adults living in the Midwest (39.6%), South (41.8%), and West (39.0%) were more likely than those living in the Northeast (27.1%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
Researchers said that some people living in households with landlines can’t be reached on their landlines because they rely on wireless telephones for all or almost all of their calls. In 2007, a question was added to NHIS for persons living in families with both landline and cellular telephones.
• Among households with both landline and wireless telephones, 31.7% received all or almost all calls on wireless phones. These wireless-mostly households make up 15.7% of all households.
• Adults with college degrees (20.7%) were more likely to be living in wireless-mostly households than high school graduates (16.0%) or adults with less education (12.8%).
• Adults living with children (22.2%) were more likely than adults living alone (9.5%), with roommates (12.9%), or with only adult relatives (17.0%) to be living in wireless-mostly households.
• Adults living in poverty (10.8%) and adults living near poverty (12.0%) were less likely than higher-income adults (21.4%) to be living in wireless-mostly households.
• Adults living in rented homes (12.8%) were less likely to be living in wireless-mostly households than were adults living in homes owned by a household member (20.0%).
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