Over half of US adults live in “cellphone-only” households

GfK MRI findings show doubling of cell-only population in past six years

NEW YORK, January 17, 2017 -- More than half (52%) of US adults live in households with cellphones but no landline telephones, according to the latest GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer®. That represents a doubling of the percentage since 2010, when it was 26%.

The proportion of senior citizens (ages 65+) in cellphone-only households quadrupled over the past six years, to 23%, while the figure for Millennials (born from 1977 to 1994) climbed to 71% from 47%.

The findings come from GfK MRI’s Fall 2016 Survey data release, which is based on interviews with approximately 24,000 US adults ages 18 and above. After Millennials, Generation X (born 1965 to 1976) is the age group most likely to live in cell-only households, at 55%. By comparison, the figure for Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) is only four in 10 (40%). 

Wide differences among ethnicities/races

Among ethnic and racial groups, adults of Hispanic or Latino origin or descent have the highest incidence of living free of landline telephones, with 67% reporting cell-only status. Other groups have roughly 50% incidence – with Asian Americans at 54%; whites, 51%; and African Americans, 50%.

Looking across regions of the US, the Northeast has the smallest concentration of cellphone-only households, at 39%. In other regions, levels of no-landline homes range from 53%  (Midwest) to 57%  (South).

“The Northeast’s lower incidence of cell-only households is likely related to its high levels of bundled television, Internet, landline, and cellphone services,” said Risa Becker, SVP of Research Operations at GfK MRI. “In other regions, we see a stronger trend toward cutting the telephone cord.”

GfK MRI data show that a full 57% of Northeast homes have bundled data and TV services (a combination of two or more of TV, Internet, and telephone service), versus 49% in the South and even less elsewhere.

GfK MRI’s unmatched consumer database is derived from continuous interviews with approximately 24,000 US adults each year. As part of The Survey of the American Consumer®, respondents record their consumption of some 6,500 products in nearly 600 categories and provide details about their lifestyles and attitudes.

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