The Golden Age of Wireless
As someone who’s recently cut the landline cord, I wondered how many other Americans are tossing the same—like a vintage Broderick Crawford rotary phone. The answer: a lot. And who’s keeping tabs on this information? The CDC.
According to the Centers’ most recent information, published last spring, the percentage of American households relying solely on wireless coverage has increased from about 10% in the first half of 2006 to about 24% in the last half of 2009 (see the CDC’s impressive growth table below). Yes, about 1 in 4 homes (as of 1 year ago) use cell phones exclusively.
An expected outcome of the CDC’s ongoing survey: sole reliance on cell phone use is age dependent, with only about 15% of cell-phone users aged 45-64 years without a landline. Among individuals aged 65 years or older, that percentage drops to about 5%.
Other factors that increased the likelihood of going completely wireless (which, in some cases, are probably age dependent):
- living with unrelated adult roommates
- renting (vs owning)
- being male
- living in or near poverty
- not living in the Northeast
- being Hispanic
Why does the CDC care about the wireless trend? Because the CDC, like many other organizations, collects much of its health survey data by phone. The Centers’ admonition:
The potential for bias due to undercoverage is not the only threat to surveys conducted on landline telephones. Researchers are also concerned that some people living in households with landlines cannot be reached on those landlines because they rely on wireless telephones for all or almost all of their calls.