Black and English-speaking Hispanic adults1 are slightly more likely than whites to own a mobile phone, with 87% of African-American and Hispanic Americans owning a phone, compared with 80% of whites. Young adults are much more likely than older ones to own a mobile phone – with the youngest most likely to own a mobile phone and the older adults least likely to own one. Those with higher education levels and annual household income are also more likely to have a mobile phone. Parents, with their logistics heavy lives, are more likely to have a mobile phone than adults with no toddlers at home (90% compared to 78%). People living in rural areas (72%) are also less likely to have a mobile phone than those living in suburban (82%) or urban (85%) areas. Moreover, internet users and those with home broadband are much more likely to use mobile phones than those who do not go online and do not have broadband at home. However, more than half (53%) of adults who do not use the internet at all have a mobile phone.
Phone uses: Call and text
Two of the main uses of the mobile phone are voice calling and text messaging.2 Although almost all adults using the mobile phone make telephone calls, 72% of adults aged 18 and over with mobile phones send and receive receiving text messages, up from 58% of adults owning a phone who sent a text in December 2007.
Adults send and receive about 10 texts a day.
Among the nearly three-quarters of adults with texting phones, the average consumer sends and receives 10 texts a day, up from an average of 5 texts a day 8 months earlier in September 2009. broken down by number of texts, half (51%) of adult text messages send between 1 and 10 texts per day. Another 25% of adults send 11 to 50 texts a day, and 10% send between 50 and 200 texts a day. Only 4% of adults send more than 200 texts a day or more than 6,000 texts a month.
Younger texting adults send more texts per day than older adults. While 88% of adults aged 50 and over send 10 or fewer texts a day, only 50% of adults under 50 say the same thing. The very youngest adults text most like their teenage counterparts – having left their own teens. 18% full of 18 to 24 texting is more than 200 messages a day, as are 15% of 12-17 year olds, while only 3% of 25 to 29 adults do the same.
There are no gender differences in the number of text messages sent daily – men and women do this equally. There are also moderate differences by race or ethnicity in text messages. African-American and Hispanic textiles typically text more than white text messages, with a median of 10 texts per day for African-American and Hispanic Americans and 5 texts a day for whites. White textiles are slightly more likely than English-speaking Hispanic adults to say that they do not send or receive any texts on a normal day (10% compared to 4% respectively).
Heavy textiles – those sending and receiving more than 50 texts a day – also tend to be heavy users of voice calling. Lightweight textiles, which exchange 1 to 10 texts a day, do not compensate for less texting by calling more; instead they are gentle consumers of the two communicative aspects of the mobile phone – making fewer calls and sending fewer texts. Fully 63% of cell owners do not text and receive 1 to 5 calls a day, while only 21% of heavy text messages participate in the same amount of voice calls. On the other hand, 26% of heavy text messages make and receive 31 or more calls a day, while only 1% of non-textphone owners make and receive the same large number of calls.
The average adult mobile phone owner makes and receives about 5 voice calls a day.
Overall, the largest segment (44%) of adult cell owners make 1 to 5 calls on a normal day. Only 5% of adults say they don’t make or receive any calls on their mobile phone on an average day.
Women report that on average they made fewer calls with their mobile phones than men.
Women make slightly fewer voice calls than men – while 53% of women make and receive 5 calls or less a day, 43% of men say the same thing. One-fifth (21%) of men make or receive 11-30 calls a day, while 17% of women say the same. Owners of African American and English-speaking Hispanic mobile phones are more likely than whites to initiate and receive large numbers of calls every day. On average, African American and Hispanic cellphone users make and receive 10 calls on a normal day, 3 while on average White cell owners place 5 calls and receive them daily. One in eight (12%) African American phone owners and 14% of Hispanic cell users make and receive more than 30 calls on a normal day, while only 4% of white cellphone owners make and receive receive the same number of calls.
In a typical behavior pattern for all manners of using a mobile phone, younger adults are more likely than older adults to make and receive a large number of calls a day. A full 12% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 participate in more than 30 cell phone calls a day, while only 7% of 30- to 49-year-olds do so. By comparison, only 3% of people aged 50 to 64 and 1% of those aged 65 and over make more than 30 calls a day on their mobile phone. More than half of adults aged 50 and over start and receive 5 calls or less a day, while the majority of users under 50 make and receive 6 calls or more a day. Parents are also more likely to make more phone calls on a normal day; 63% of parents make more than 5 calls a day compared with 44% of adults without children under 18 at home.
Two-thirds of adults sleep with their mobile phones
As the mobile phone becomes more central to the lives of American adults and teens, consumers are increasingly reluctant to be separated from their device, even at night. Two-thirds (65%) of adults report having slept with their mobile phone on their bed or right at their bed. Text senders, especially heavy textiles (sending and receiving more than 51 texts per day) and medium text messages (11 to 50 texts a day) are more likely to sleep with their phones than messages lighter text or non-text. Heavy users of voice calling on the mobile phone, and daily users of the mobile phone to access the internet are also more likely to sleep with their phones.