Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July–December 2014

Preliminary results from the July– December 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow.

More than two in every five American homes (45.4%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the second half of 2014—an increase of 4.4 percentage points since the second half of 2013. More than one-half of all adults aged 18-44 and of children under 18 were living in wireless-only households.

A new NCHS report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the federal government concerning the size and characteristics of these populations.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In the second 6 months of 2014, more than two in every five households (45.4%) did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone.
  • Approximately 106 million adults (44.1% of all adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; about 40 million children (54.1% of all children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.
  • More than two-thirds of adults aged 25–29 (69.2%) and aged 30-34 (67.4%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. These rates are greater than the rate for those 18–24 (57.8%).
  • The percentage of adults living with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 53.7% for those 35–44; 36.8% for those 45–64; and 17.1% for those 65 and over.
  • Four in five adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (81.3%) were in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is higher than the rates for adults living alone (49.5%), adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (35.8%), and adults living with children (50.8%).
  • Two in three adults living in rented homes (66.2%) had only wireless telephones. This rate is twice the rate for adults living in homes owned by a household member (33.1%).
  • Adults living in poverty (59.4%) were more likely than those living near poverty (51.1%) and higher income adults (42.5%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.
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