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Originally published: 2012-12-28 10:17:39
Last modified: 2012-12-28 10:17:39

Cell phone usage continues to climb

The number of American homes that use only cell phones in lieu of landlines continues to grow, according to data released this month from the National Health Interview Survey.

The survey, conducted from January through June, found that 35.8 percent of American homes had only cell phones and no landline phones. That represents an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the second half of 2011.

Even among those homes that did have a landline telephone, almost 16 percent reported receiving all or almost all calls on wireless telephones.

The percentage of households that are wireless-only has been increasing steadily since 2003, when the NHIS first began asking about telephone usage. But this most recent increase was the smallest gain for any six-month period since January 2008.

The study also found that:

— Exactly 60.1 percent of adults aged 25-29 lived in households with only wireless phones. A majority of the 18 to 24 age group (49.5 percent) and the 30 to 34 age group (55.1 percent) also used only wireless phones. Only 10.5 percent of those aged 65 and older lived in wireless-only households.

— Wireless-only households also were more common among adults living with adult roommates, people renting their homes and adults living in poverty.

— Men (35.2 percent) were more likely than women (32.9 percent) to be living in households with only wireless services.

— Adults living in the Midwest (37.5 percent), South (37.2 percent) and West (34 percent) were more likely than adults in the Northeast (23.1 percent) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.

This year’s survey included 20,608 households.