For the first time in history, U.S. households with landlines – such as mine — are now in the minority, according to survey numbers from a federal government report released this morning.
From that report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics:
The second 6 months of 2016 was the first time that a majority of American homes had only wireless telephones. Preliminary results from the July–December 2016 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that 50.8% of American homes did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) —an increase of 2.5 percentage points since the second 6 months of 2015.
Young adults (25-34) and those who rent are most likely to live wireless-only, as 70 percent of that demographic lives with a landline.
(Why is the National Center for Health Statistics interested in phone usage preferences? Well, it seems that those who eschew landlines – taking the “risk” of wireless-only – also exhibit tendencies toward other risky behaviors, such as smoking and excessive drinking.)
The wireless-only trend is neither surprising nor new, of course, though it’s still worth noting that close to half of our fellow citizens cling to their old-fashioned phones. The reasons are varied and numerous, with the Associated Press having a good rundown of them here.
My guess is that many of those rationales for maintaining a landline will endure for many years to come, meaning it will be some time before we are a totally wireless society.