Wireless Only Households Now In The Majority

    May 11, 2009

More than one of every five American homes (20.2%) had only wireless phones during the second half of 2008, according to a new National Health Interview Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percentage of households that have ditched traditional landline phones and have become wireless only has been steadily increasing. In fact, the 2.7 percentage point increase from the first 6 months of 2008 is the largest 6-month increase since the NHIS began collecting data on wireless-only households in 2003.

This marks the first time that the number of U.S. households with only cell phones has surpassed those with traditional landline phones.

More than three in five adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (60.6%) were in households with only wireless telephones.

Nearly two in five adults renting their home (39.2%) had only wireless telephones. Adults renting their home were more likely than adults owning their home (9.9%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.

Percentages of adults and children

As age increased from 30 years, the percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones decreased: 21.6 percent for adults 30-44 years; 11.6 percent for adults aged 45-64 years; and 3.3 percent for adults 65 years and over.

Among houses with both landline and cellular telephones, 24.4 percent received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. These wireless mostly households make up 14.5 percent of all households.