Preliminary results from the July– December 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow. More than one-half of American homes (53.9%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the second half of 2017— an increase of 3.1 percentage points since the second half of 2016. More than 70% of adults aged 25-34 and adults renting their homes were living in wireless-only households. This report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the federal government concerning the size and characteristics of this population.
Three in four adults aged 25–29 (75.6%) and aged 30-34 (73.3%) lived in households with only wirelesstelephones. These rates are greater than the rate for those 18–24 (67.1%). The percentage of adults living with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 64.5% for those 35–44; 48.1% for those 45–64; and 26.4% for those 65 and over.
Nearly four in five adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (77.5%) were in households with onlywireless telephones. This rate is higher than the rates for adults living alone (59.7%), adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (45.2%), and adults living with children (60.5%).
More than seven in ten adults living in rented homes (72.0%) had only wireless telephones. This rate is significantly higher than the rate for adults living in homes owned by a household member (44.6%).
Adults living in poverty (68.1%) and near poverty (58.1%) were more likely than higher income adults (53.1%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones. (Footnote 3 in Table 2 gives definitions of these categories.)
Hispanic adults (65.6%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white (50.2%), non-Hispanic black (52.3%), or non-Hispanic Asian (53.4%) adults to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
Adults living in the Midwest (55.6%), South (56.7%), and West (56.9%) were more likely than those living in the Northeast (39.3%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.