Landlines Left Behind as American Households Go Wireless

Approximately 34 percent of all adults, about 80 million adults, lived in households with only wireless telephones, according to a CDC report.

The number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow, as more than one-third of American homes (35.8 percent) had only wireless phones during the first half of 2012, an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the second half of 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control's National Health Interview Study.

The report also found nearly one of every six American homes (15.9 percent) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite also having a landline telephone. While the percentage of households that are wireless-only has been steadily increasing, the 1.8-percentage-point increase from the second half of 2011 through the first half of 2012 is the smallest increase observed for any six-month period dating back to Jan. 2008.

According to survey results, approximately 34 percent of all adults (about 80 million adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones, and 40.6 percent of all children (approximately 30 million children) lived in households with only wireless telephones. For the period from January to June 2012, there are four demographic groups in which the majority live in households with only wireless telephones: adults aged 25 to 34, adults living only with unrelated adult roommates, adults renting their homes and adults living in poverty.

The report also found men (35.2 percent) were more likely than women (32.9 percent) to be living in households with only wireless telephones, while the proportion of women among all wireless-only adults increased from 47.6 percent to 50.2 percent. Adults with college degrees (21 percent) were more likely to be living in wireless-mostly households than were high school graduates (15.5 percent) or adults with less education (11.9 percent).

In the first half of 2012, 29.9 percent of households with both landline and wireless telephones received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. These wireless-mostly households make up 15.9 percent of all households. Approximately 41 million adults (17.6 percent) lived in wireless-mostly households during the first half of this year.

The study included statistics on the health of households. Compared with adults living in landline households, wireless-only adults were more likely to engage in regular leisure-time physical activity and less likely to have ever been diagnosed with diabetes, the study found. Wireless-only adults were also more likely to be current smokers than were adults living in landline households.

Finally, the percentage without health insurance coverage at the time of the interview among wireless-only adults under age 65 (27.9 percent) exceeded the percentage among adults in that age group living in landline households (15.1 percent).