CDC: Majority of US households only use cellphones for first time in history

WASHINGTON — Landline telephones have officially been ousted from a majority of American homes, with most U.S. households relying on cellphones (50.8 percent) for the first time ever, a new government study finds.

The second-half of 2016 saw a 2.5 percent increase from 2015 in homes that didn’t have a landline and where at least one resident had a mobile phone. The study shows that more than 123 million adults are living in households with at least one wireless phone available for use. Approximately 39 percent of homes used both landlines and cellphones, and 3.2 percent of households had no phone service at all.

Just 6.5 percent of U.S. households had a landline without any cellphones available.

A majority of U.S. households have no landline telephone and only have cell phones, a new study finds.
A majority of U.S. households have no landline telephone and only have cell phones, a new study finds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was conducted in-person from 19,956 households that included at least one civilian adult or child. The semi-annual National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) release compares numbers on health care issues in addition to conducting staggered interviews on telephone service.

More than seven-in-ten adults aged 25-34 lived in households with wireless-only service, which is an increase from six-in-ten adults aged 18-24. As age increases, so does the likelihood that the household will have a landline telephone. Less than one-quarter (23.5 percent) of adults over age 65 live in wireless-only homes.

Adults under 45 years of age and those who rent their living space were most likely to have only cell phone service.  Among rented homes, 71.5 percent of U.S. adults solely used cellphones. And more than 4-in-5 adults living with unrelated adult roommates (83.7 percent) used only wireless service.

Cellphone-only homes had some strange common strains, according to study co-author Stephen J. Blumberg: “Wireless-only adults are more likely to drink heavily, more likely to smoke and be uninsured. There certainly is something about giving up a landline that appeals to the same people who may engage in risky behavior.”

The proportion of wireless-only U.S. adults living in homes owned by a fellow household member increased from 48.5 percent in the second-half of 2013 to 54.4 percent in the second part of 2016.

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