Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cell Phone Only Continues To Grow

by Michael Handley

Preliminary results from the January–June 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes cutting their landline telephone service in favor of cellular telephone service only continues to grow.

More than one-third of American homes (35.8%) had only cellular telephone service during the first half of 2012 — an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the second half of 2011.  In addition, nearly one of every six American homes (15.9%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite also having a landline telephone.  More than half of American households (51.7%) can now be contacted only by knowing the cell phone of someone living in that household.

For the period January–June 2012, there are four demographic groups in which the majority live in households with only wireless telephones:

  1. Six in 10 adults aged 25–29 (60.1%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. (By the end of 2012 the rate of young adults who live in cell phone only households will likely approach 65 percent.)  The aged 25–29 rate is greater than the rates for adults aged 18–24 (49.5%) or 30–34 (55.1%). The percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 39.1% for those aged 35–44; 25.8% for those aged 45–64; and 10.5% for those aged 65 and over.
  2. More than three in four adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (75.9%) were in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is higher than the rate for adults living alone (43.0%) and the rate for adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (27.0%).
  3. More than half of all adults renting their home (58.2%) had only wireless telephones. This rate is more than twice as large as the rate for adults owning their home (23.2%). 
  4. Adults living in poverty (51.8%) were more likely than adults living near poverty (42.3%) and higher income adults (30.7%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
Also, Hispanic adults (46.5%) were more likely than non-Hispanic white adults (30.4%), non-Hispanic black adults (37.7%) or non-Hispanic Asian adults (33.4%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.

Broadly speaking, the voting age adults who live a cell phone only lifestyle are younger, non-Anglo, and single - exactly the demographic groups who lean most heavily toward the Democratic Party.

It is increasingly impossible to reach these Democratic Party constituency groups by phone, unless they have given the party organization, candidate or political action committee their cell phone number with permission that it can be used for voice or text political messaging. There are no "White Pages" for cell phone numbers and there are federal laws and regulations of the FCC and FTC that govern who can call cell phone numbers. The 21st century marketing and political campaign approach to building cell phone number contact lists is to run ongoing Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging programs.  Here is a slide from one of my consulting presentations showing one of the Obama for America campaign's SMS programs.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Health Interview Reports:
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