Americans are steadily abandoning traditional telephone landlines and exclusively using wireless devices. While 8.4% of U.S. households used only cellphones in 2005, this was true of nearly half of all American households only a decade later.
The likelihood of living in a cellphone-only household varies considerably across states. New Jersey has the lowest share of adults living in wireless-only households at just 27.5%. In Idaho, the share is more than double, at 61.6% — the highest share of any state.
> Cellphone only (2015): 31.1%
> Cellphone only (2010): 15.3% (3rd lowest)
> Landline only: 9.1% (5th highest)
> Spam complaints per 100,000: 2,147 (3rd highest)
With data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of adults in wireless-only households in every state.
Many demographic characteristics correlate with the use of phones. While 72.1% of 25-29 year olds use only cellphones, only 21.1% of Americans 65 and older do. Renters are significantly more likely to use only cellphones than homeowners. Households with unrelated adults are nearly twice as likely to exclusively use cellphones as those with related adults.
The states with the highest share of adults in wireless-only households tend to have higher poverty rates than most states. Paying both for a cellphone plan and landline can be expensive, and households that have little extra money often need to choose between the two.
Conversely, the states with the highest shares of adults in households that use both cellphones and landline phones tend to have higher median household incomes than in most other states.
Many Americans decide to get rid of their landline because of the incessant calls they receive from telemarketers. It is illegal for telemarketers to call a wireless number using an automated dialing system or a recorded message regardless of whether or not the number is on the National Do-Not-Call Registry. Generally, the Federal Trade Commission receives far less complaints per capita from states where a larger share of residents are reachable only by cellphone.
To determine the states where the most people only use cellphones, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2015 share of adults living in wireless-only households using data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The percentage of adults who live in landline-only households came from the same report. Data for 2010 come from a previous version of the NCHS report published in 2012. Telemarketing spam complaints per 100,000 state residents were obtained from the Federal Trade Commission’s Fiscal Year 2016 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book.