Cellular phones have become so common that virtually all adults in the U.S. have them. In fact, many children in the U.S. have them even in grade school. In the poor global economy, some consumers are facing a choice between landlines and their cell phones and many of them are choosing the latter.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that for the first time ever the number of households with cell phones only outnumbers those that have traditional landlines. The switch is reportedly accelerated by the recession. According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of households had only sell phone since the last half of 2008.
That number represents a growth of almost 3% since data on cellular use started being gathered in 2003. In 2003, 43% of the homes in America had landlines.
Stephen Blumberg, author of the CDC report said, "We do expect that with the recession, we'd see an increase in the prevalence of wireless only households, above what we might have expected had there been no recession."
The report also found that 15% of homes have both a landline and cell phones, but they take no calls on their landlines. The reason for this is phone lines dedicated to internet access via dial-up or DSL and fax machine use. When the number of cellular-only households and the number with cell and landlines who don’t use the landline are combined, a full 35% of households in America are wireless only.
The AP reports that the reason this is significant is for pollsters who have used landlines for years to gather data. With more people moving to mobile phone sonly and current legislation preventing pollsters from using computers to dial mobile phone numbers.
The age of people in the household contributes to whether the home is wireless only. According to the report, a third of people 18 to 24 live in homes with cell phones only. Four in ten people age 25 to 29 are in cell phone only homes according to the report. The most likely people to live in wireless only homes are the poor, renters, Hispanics, Southerners, Midwesterners, and those living with unrelated adults.