Landline Phone Use Plummets Among America’s Poor Households

In a financial and technological role reversal, a growing number of Americans are getting rid of their old telephones and using only cellphones, a trend being led not by the high-tech elite but by people in poorer states as a way to save money.Government estimates released Wednesday show at least 30 percent of adults in 10 states rely entirely on cellphones, with the highest percentage in Arkansas and Mississippi, where many cannot afford to pay for two separate lines.To read this Huffington Post report in full, see: see:Youth, Mobility and Poverty Help Drive Cellphone-Only Status
It’s not quite the stuff of bragging rights, but Arkansas and Mississippi find themselves at the top of a new state ranking: They have the highest concentrations of people in the nation who have abandoned landlines in favor of cellular phones.At the other extreme? People in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey are still holding on to their landlines, and they have the lowest concentrations of people whose homes use only cellphones. Substitution: State-level Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January 2007-June 2010
Objectives — This report presents state-level estimates of the percentage of adults and children living in households that did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone. National estimates for the 12-month time period from July 2009 through June 2010 indicate that 23.9% of adults and 27.5% of children were living in these wireless-only households. Estimates are also presented for selected U.S. counties and groups of counties, for other household telephone service use categories (e.g., those that had only landlines and those that had landlines yet received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones), and for 12-month time periods since January-December 2007.Methods — Small-area statistical modeling techniques were used to estimate the prevalence of adults and children living in households with various household telephone service types for 93 disjoint geographic areas that make up the entire United States. This modeling was based on January 2007-June 2010 data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2006-2009 data from the American Community Survey, and auxiliary information on the number of listed telephone lines per capita in 2007-2010.Results — The prevalence of wireless-only adults and children varied substantially across states. State-level estimates for July 2009-June 2010 ranged from 12.8% (Rhode Island and New Jersey) to 35.2% (Arkansas) of adults and from 12.6% (Connecticut and New Jersey) to 46.2% (Arkansas) of children. For adults, the magnitude of the increase from 2007 to 2010 was lowest in New Jersey (7.2 percentage points) and highest in Arkansas (14.5 percentage points).

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