A Fifth Of U.S. Homes Have Cell Phones, No Landlines
May 7, 2009 at 5:15 AM (PT)
For the first time, reports TECH.YAHOO.COM, "the number of U.S. households opting for only cell phones outnumber those that just have traditional landlines in a high-tech shift accelerated by the recession. In the freshest evidence of the growing appeal of cell phones, 20% of households had only cells during the last half of 2008, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released WEDNESDAY. That was an increase of nearly 3% points over the first half of the year, the largest six-month increase since the government started gathering such data in 2003.
The 20% of homes with only cell phones compared to 17% with landlines but no cells.
"The 20% of homes with only cell phones compared to 17% with landlines but no cells.
"That ratio has changed starkly in recent years: In the first six months of 2003, just 3% of households were wireless only, while 43% stuck to landlines.
"STEPHEN BLUMBERG, senior scientist at the CDC and an author of the report, attributed the growing number of cell-only households in part to a recession that has forced many families to scour their budgets for savings. '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,' BLUMBERG said.
"The changes are important for pollsters, like ARBITRON, who for years relied on reaching people on their landline telephones. Growing numbers of surveys now include calls to people on their cells, which is more expensive partly because federal laws forbid pollsters from using computers to place calls to wireless phones.
Arbitron Is Playing Catch-Up
ARBITRON has recently announced plans to increase its in-tab sample target for cell-phone-only Households in PPM markets from an average of 10% to an average of 15% by the end of 2009. That still puts them 5% behing this survey's 20% finding.
In APRIL (NET NEWS 4/30), ARBITRON Pres./CEO MICHAEL SKARZYNSKI said, "We began cell-phone-only household sampling in 151 Diary markets this SPRING with the balance planned for FALL 2009. We expect this important step to help improve sample performance especially among young persons."
Cell Phone Only Household Demos
"About a third of people age 18 to 24 live in households with only cell phones, making them far likelier than older people to rely exclusively on cells. The same is true of four in 10 people age 25 to 29.
"Those likeliest to live in wireless-only households also include the poor, renters, Hispanics, Southerners, Midwesterners and those living with unrelated adults, such as roommates or unmarried couples.
"Six in 10 households have both landline and cell phones, while one in 50 have no phones at all.
"The data is compiled by the National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the CDC. The latest survey involved in-person interviews with members of 12,597 households conducted from last JULY through DECEMBER."