I had a inquiry from a reader recently, “You write an awful lot about cell phones and tablets these days. I don’t have a mobile anything, I think it’s all just for the kids. How many grownups actually use these things?”
Good questions. Let’s break it down using some numbers from the Pew Research center from last fall.
How many people have cell phones? 90% of American adults own a cell phone. So you are definitely in the minority there. Only 41% of U.S. homes still have a land line phone. Smartphone owners are now the majority, too. A full 64% of American adults own a smartphone. The difference between a cell phone and a smartphone is that a smartphone is actually a pocket-sized computer able to run apps, connect you to the Internet and serve as camera. It just happens to also have an app that lets you make phone calls.
Tablet owners aren’t quite in the majority yet, around 42% of adults own tablets such as an iPad, Android or Kindle Fire. Although technically, a smartphone really is just a smaller tablet. A full 84% of American households own at least one PC. Also about 32% of Americans own an eReader, such as a Kindle Paperwhite, a device that is used specifically for reading eBooks.
Many people use their smartphone as their only computing device. About 7% of owners use their phones as the only way they access the Internet. Nearly half of users, 44%, say they sometimes sleep with their phone next to their bed because they don’t want to miss calls or messages.
Slightly more men that women have a cell phone (93% compared to 89%), but ownership is evenly spread across White, African-American and Hispanics, each with around a 90% rate of owning a cell phone. While 98% of people 18-29 have a cell phone, a full 74% of those 65 and up have one as well.
Those with College education are slightly more likely to have a cell, but not much. The level stays around 90% no matter what your income or education level and it doesn’t seem to matter whether you live in the city, country or suburbs.
More than 80% of Americans send texts and 60% use their phones for internet access. So, to answer your question, mobile tech is pretty popular and judging by the number of questions we get, sometimes kind of confusing.