smartphone researchFor the first time since it’s been tracking smartphone ownership, a majority of Americans now own smartphones, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. A combined 61% of cell phone owners surveyed by Pew Project researchers said their device was a smartphone or that their cell phone operates on a smartphone platform common to the U.S. market.

As 91% of the U.S. adult population owns a cell phone, that means that 56% of all American adults are now using smartphones, according to a press release. Of those that don’t, 35% have some other type of cell phone and 9% don’t own a cell phone at all.

Smartphone ownership increased significantly across all demographic groups from 2012-2013, though seniors “continue to exhibit relatively low adoption levels compared with other demographic groups,” Pew Project researchers noted. Some 18% of Americans 65 or older now own smartphones, up from 13% in February, 2012.


Looking at smartphone adoption on a gender basis, 59% of U.S. adult men and 53% of adult women are smartphone owners. At 81%, those aged 25-34 have the highest percentage of smartphone adoption. The 18-24 year old demographic follows at 79%, with adoption rates tailing off to 69% for those 35-44, 55% for those 45-54 and 39% for those 55-64.

Smartphone ownership also correlates with higher levels of income and education, with the highest adoption rate (70%) among Americans with a college or higher degree. That drops down to 36% for those with less than a high school education.

At 78%, smartphone adoption rates are highest among those earning annual salaries of $75,000 or more. This statistic drops steadily as income level decreases, reaching 43% among Americans earning less than $30,000 per year.

Examining smartphone platform use, Pew Project researchers found that respondents who said they own either an iPhone or an Android smartphone grew dramatically year-over-year.

“Android owners now represent 28% of all cell owners (up from 15% in May 2011), while iPhone owners now represent 25% of the cell owner population (up from 10% in May 2011),” according to the report. The proportion of American cell phone owners who said they own a BlackBerry device declined from 10% in May 2011 to just 4%.

Apple’s iPhone is the by far the most popular among Americans earning high incomes: 49% of cell owners with household incomes of $150,000 or more say they own iPhones. In contrast, African-Americans cell phone owners are more likely than whites or Latinos to say they own an Android device.

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