Home >> More Reports news >> This Article

Wireless Only Households in the USA Rising

Published on:

Note -- this news article is more than a year old.


Preliminary results from the USA's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) covering the second half of last year, indicates that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow.

In the last 6 months of 2009, one of every four households (24.5%) did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone. Approximately 22.9% of all adults (approximately 52 million adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; 25.9% of all children (more than 19 million children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.

The percentage of households that are wireless-only has been steadily increasing. The 4.3-percentage-point increase from the last 6 months of 2008 through the last 6 months of 2009 is nearly equivalent to the 4.4-percentage-point increase observed from the last 6 months of 2007 through the last 6 months of 2008.

The percentage of adults living in wireless-only households has also been increasing steadily. During the last 6 months of 2009, more than two of every nine adults lived in wireless-only households. One year before that (i.e., during the last 6 months of 2008), 2 of every 11 adults lived in wireless-only households. And 2 years before that (i.e., during the last 6 months of 2006), only 2 of every 17 adults lived in wireless-only households.

The percentage of children living in wireless-only households is also growing. In fact, for this population, the 4.6-percentage-point increase from the first 6 months of 2009 is the largest 6-month increase observed since 2003, when NHIS began collecting data on children living in wireless-only households.

The percentages of adults and children living without any telephone service have remained relatively unchanged over the past 3 years. Approximately 2.0% of households had no telephone service (neither wireless nor landline). Nearly 4 million adults (1.7%) and 1.4 million children (1.9%) lived in these households.

Demographic Differences

  • More than three in five adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (62.9%) were in households with only wireless telephones. This is the highest prevalence rate among the population subgroups examined.
  • More than two in five adults renting their home (43.1%) had only wireless telephones. Adults renting their home were more likely than adults owning their home (14.0%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Nearly half of adults aged 25-29 years (48.6%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. More than one-third of adults aged 18-24 or 30-34 (37.8% and 37.2%, respectively) lived in households with only wireless telephones.
  • As age increased from 35 years, the percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones decreased: 23.9% for adults aged 35-44; 14.9% for adults aged 45-64; and 5.2% for adults aged 65 and over. However, as shown in Table 2 and Figure 2, the percentage of wireless-only adults within each age group has increased over time.
  • Men (24.5%) were more likely than women (21.3%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Adults living in poverty (36.3%) and adults living near poverty (29.0%) were more likely than higher income adults (19.6%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Adults living in the Midwest (25.6%), South (25.4%), and West (22.2%) were more likely than adults living in the Northeast (15.1%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Hispanic adults (30.4%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white adults (21.0%) or non-Hispanic black adults (25.0%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.

Methodology:

From July through December 2009, information on household telephone status was obtained for 21,375 households that included at least one civilian adult or child. These households included 40,619 civilian adults aged 18 years and over and 14,984 children under age 18.

The report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the USA's federal government concerning the size and characteristics of these populations.


Wireless Only Households

Sign up for our free email news alerts

Sample Copy


Tags: nhis  health  wireless