US Homes Ditch Landlines for Cell Phones

Cell Phone vs Landline

The number of U.S. homes with a landline is decreasing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The percentage of U.S. homes without landline phones in the second half of last year was up 2.8 percentage points from the second half of 2012. This marks a slowdown in the annual increases from the second half of 2010 to the second half of 2012, which were just over 4 percentage points.

The CDC interviewed 21,512 households and asked whether their home had a landline phone since 2003 as part of an effort to improve the accuracy of CDC health estimates.

Nearly two-thirds of people ages 25 to 29 lived in households with only wireless phones, with majorities for those 18 to 24 and 30 to 34, the survey showed.

Three in four adults living only with unrelated adult roommates were in wireless-only households and 61.7 percent of adults in rented homes were without landline service.

Fifty-six percent of people living in poverty had only wireless phones and 53 percent of Hispanics had only cellular phones.

The increase in cellphone-only households is slowing, the CDC report said, and those without landlines tend to be younger, poorer, renters and Hispanic.

The CDC report also showed that not all homes have phones. About 3 percent have no landline or cellphone. Meanwhile, about 9 percent have only landlines, and about 48 percent have both.

The percentages of Americans living without any telephone service have remained relatively unchanged over the past 3 years. Approximately 2.1% of households had no telephone service (neither wireless nor landline). Nearly 4.5 million adults (1.9%) and 1.6 million children (2.2%) lived in these households.

The report does not indicate why wireless-only use in the home is slowing. In one published report lead researcher Stephen Blumberg suspects that it could be tied to cable TV services.

“Or it could mean that we’re hitting a ceiling for those people willing to completely abandon landlines,” said John Palmer, a researcher at the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, who was not involved in the CDC report.

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