Hold The Phone

May 29, 2008

Are you "cell phone only"? A growing number of Americans are. But some demographic groups are considerably more likely than others to abandon their land lines.

The National Center for Health Statistics recently released new estimates of the number of Americans who can be reached only by cell phone. In 2007, the proportion of adults living in households without a land line was 14.5 percent, a huge increase since 2004, when it was only 5.4 percent. Some other findings of note:

The roomie effect: Adults living with unrelated roommates were the demographic category most likely to be living without a land line, at 56.9 percent.

Rent or buy? Among adult renters, 30.9 percent were wireless only, compared with 7.3 percent for homeowners.

Age factor: Those ages 25 to 29 were most likely to be wireless only, 34.5 percent. For ages 18 to 24, it was 31 percent; 30 to 44, 15.5 percent; 45 to 64, 8 percent; and 65 and older, 2.2 percent.

Gender differences: Men (15.9 percent) were more likely than women (13.2 percent) to be living in wireless-only households.

Minority report: Hispanic adults, at 19.3 percent, and non-Hispanic black adults, at 18.3 percent, were substantially more likely than non-Hispanic white adults - 12.9 percent - to be wireless only.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the percentage of adults in households without any phone service has remained remarkably constant over the years. In 2007, it was 1.9 percent.

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