More Households Go Wireless

One quarter of households (24.5%) in the U.S. now only have cell phones, and an additional 15% of those who have a landline, receive all, or almost all, calls on their cell phones according to preliminary results of a July-December 2009 Center for Disease Control’s Survey, Blumberg SJ, Luke JV. Wireless substitution: Early release of estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, July-December 2009. National Center for Health Statistics. May 2010. Available from:

Demographics Determine Access; younger, lower income, and renters are most likely to have shed their fixed line phones.

The breakdown:

  • 62.9% of adults living with unrelated adult roommates only use cell phones, the highest prevalence rate among the subgroups examined.
  • 43% of adults renting their home only have cell phones, in sharp contrast to adults renting who own their home (14.0%).
  • 48.6% of adults between 25-29 years of age live in households with only wireless telephones, compared to 37.8% of adults aged 18-24, and 37.2% aged30-34.
  • After the age of 35, the percentage of adults living in households without fixed line phones decreases sharply: 23.9% for adults aged 35-44; 14.9% for adults aged 45-64; and 5.2% for adults aged 65 and over.
  • Men (24.5%) are more likely than women (21.3%) to live in households with only cell phones.
  • Adults living in poverty (36.3%) and adults living near poverty (29.0%) are more likely than higher income adults (19.6%) to be living in households with only cell phones.
  • Hispanic adults (30.4%) were more likely than white adults (21.0%) or black adults (25.0%) to be living in households with only cell phones.

Why This Matters to Your Safety

Beyond merely being interesting to watch the continuing trend to cell phone only households, this highlights the need for increasing your cell phone security. As cell phones get smarter and feature more functionality, the risks of malware increase.

To offset increased risks, keep an eye out for threats reported against mobile phones with your operating system and through your carrier, check to see what security protections there are for your specific phone, and practice good cell phone hygiene – including password/pin protecting your phone.



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