smartphone researchNearly 40% of American homes rely solely on wireless telephones, and nearly one in six (15.7%) received all or almost all phone calls on wireless telephones, according to preliminary results from the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) January-June 2013 National Health Interview Survey.

According to the latest data from the NHIS survey, nearly two in five (39.4%) of U.S households did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone. Some 38% of approximately 90 million American adults and 45.4% of approximately 33 million children lived in wireless phone-only households.

While the number of wireless-only U.S. homes has been rising steadily, the 1.2% increase in the last six month period is the smallest NHIS has recorded in the past six years. The percentages of adults (2.2%) and children (2.6%) without any type of telephone service remained relatively unchanged as of this latest survey.

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Majorities of four demographic groups live in wireless phone-only households: adults aged 18-34, adults living only with unrelated adult roommates, adults renting their home, and adults living in poverty. NHIS researchers found that those living in wireless phone-only households were also more likely than those living in homes with landlines to lack medical insurance coverage and were more likely to have experienced financial barriers to obtaining needed medical care, as well as being more prone to several health risks.

Other key takeaways from NHIS’ report include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of adults aged 25–29 (65.6%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is greater than the rates for those aged 18–24 (54.3%) or 30–34 (59.9%).
  • The percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 44.5% for those aged 35–44; 29.8% for those aged 45–64; and 12.6% for those aged 65 and over.
  • Three in four adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (74.7%) were in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is higher than the rates for adults living alone (46.4%) and for adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (29.6%).
  • Three in five adults living in rented homes (61.5%) had only wireless telephones. This rate is more than twice the rate for adults living in homes owned by a household member (27.2%).
  • Adults living in poverty (54.7%) were more likely than adults living near poverty (47.5%) and higher income adults (35.3%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Other demographic differences were also noted: Men (39.7%) were more likely than women (36.5%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Hispanic adults (49.9%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white (35.1%) or non-Hispanic black (39.4%) adults to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
  • Adults living in the Midwest (39.6%), South (41.8%), and West (39.0%) were more likely than those living in the Northeast (27.1%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones

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