cord cuttersThe latest data from the Centers for Disease Control paints the picture of a growing mobile first society in the U.S., with nearly half (45.4%) of U.S. households wireless only. The data comes from the CDC’s July – December 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The NHIS captures this data twice per year and provides some of the best data available regarding wireless substitution in the U.S.

Wireless only households is not an issue for just the very young anymore. According to the CDC data, more than two-thirds of adults aged 25–29 (69.2%) and aged 30-34 (67.4%) lived in wireless only households. That exceeds those in the 18 – 24 demographic, where 57.8% were wireless only.

For those beyond age 35 – 53.7% for those 35–44 were wireless only; 36.8% for those 45–64; and 17.1% for those 65 and over.

Renters (66.2%) and adults living with unrelated roommates (81.3%) far exceeded the national average of 45.4%. Household income is a factor as well. Nearly sixty percent (59.4%) of adults living under the poverty line were wireless only, compared to 42.5% of higher income adults.

Wireless Only Households Trend Accelerating Again
The wireless only substitution trend seems to be accelerating again. There was a brief moment where the trend looked to be flattening out, and maybe even had peaked. Between 2012 and 2013, wireless only homes only grew at 2.8%, a decline of 33% from the period 2011 – 2012, and far below the heyday of wireless substitution growth which grew eightfold in the six years between 2004 and 2010.

wireless only chart
Source: CDC/National Health Interview Survey

But growth accelerated by 4.4% between 2013 and 2014, an increase of over 57% over the period 2012 – 2013. It looks like wireless substitution is back on its acceleration track with no end in sight.

Wireless Mostly Trend
Among households that have both a wireline phone and a wireless phone, the trend of “wireless mostly” is worth noting as well. That is, where even though a landline telephone is present in the home, wireless phones tend to be the most used form for “all or almost all calls.”

Among these households, 34.8% received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. This translates to nearly 15% of all U.S. households, considered wireless mostly households, according to the CDC.

Combine that with the 45.4% of wireless only households, and about 60% of U.S. households choose wireless communication for all or almost all of their calls over landlines, according to this data.

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One thought on “Nearly Half of U.S. Households are Now Wireless Only Households, But 60% May be More Accurate Number

  1. I hate be the bearer of bad tidings, but the CDC numbers are an embarrassing example of how to manipulate data by a government agency who hasn't bothered with the facts or to examine and fix corrupt terminology, like 'wireless only" households.

    It is meaningless because the CDC numbers do NOT count the wires coming into the home; they only could residential households where one application, voice calling, is measured.

    And the term would make one believe, as well as the articles that quote the materials, that they are ,measuring landlines, but again — sorry, but they don't count, well, the actual lines, such as an alarm circuit into the home (about 20% of homes) or the DSL 'landline’, or the FiOS landline for broadband or the cable line for cable service from, say Time Warner, or any business line, even with households were there is a home office.

    In fact, when you take into account actual lines in service — all wires coming into the home– probably 5-10% are actually ‘wireless only’—-and that would be generous, especially when you count the cable wires.

    The CDC is not even an agency with telecommunications, expertise; it is the "Center for Disease Control".

    And every time they put out a new study, or reporters quote this mush, we simply refer to our old analysis. We quote the CDC’s analysis, which, I paraphrase — If you keep your phone line you will smoke less, drink less, not be as 'stressed out' and have more money to pay for medical care when needed. This information is about as accurate as all of the other information presented by the CDC on phone service.

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