Cellphone-only homes becoming the norm, CDC finds

Thinkstock

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Tuesday found 47 percent of homes only use cellphones and do not have a landline phone.

That is about 5 percentage points higher than homes that use both wireless and landline phones, which still represent 41 percent of households.

ADVERTISEMENT
Wireless-only households became dominant in late 2014, and they could make up the majority in either late 2015 or early 2016. Since 2012, wireless-only households have grown about 12 percent. 

Only about 8 percent of homes only have a landline, while 3.4 percent of homes have no phone of any kind. People living in or near poverty levels were also more likely to live in a cellphone-only house. 

Pollsters are most likely to see wireless-only homes among individuals aged 24-34, where 68 percent to 71 percent only use cellphones. About 85 percent of adults living with nonrelated roommates live in a cellphone-only house. Renters are also far more likely than homeowners to only use cellphones. 

The CDC has asked the telephone question since 2003 to help it along with health-related survey research. With stricter automated and pre-recorded call bans to cellphones, the agency noted that increases in cellphone use has a negative effect on pollsters, including results that could be biased against cellphone-only homes. 

The problem has been felt throughout the polling industry, including pollsters that focus on politics and presidential horserace surveys. 

The survey released Tuesday, which also asked a series of health-related questions, found a number of interesting correlations. 

It found that individuals in cellphone-only houses tended to have a higher frequency of heavy drinking and smoking. They were more likely to describe themselves as being in good physical condition but lack insurance. They are also more likely to have been tested for HIV. 

Much of those correlations likely have to do with the demographics of cellphone-only households. 

The survey was conducted in the first half of 2015 and polled 21,517 households.