Texting by American adults has increased substantially over the past year, but still does not approach the magnitude of text messages exchanged by adolescents. Some 72% of adult cell phone users send and receive text messages now, up from 65% in September 2009. Fully 87% of teen cell users text. Teens text 50 messages a day on average, five times more than the typical 10 text messages sent and received by adults per day.
Still, for most adults, voice calling is their primary use of the phone. They make and receive about 5 calls per day on average.
“Texting among adults has reached the mainstream and the charge is being lead by African-Americans, Hispanics and young adults,” said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist and author the report. “Of course, none of these adult groups hold a candle to teens when it comes to texting, who swamp adults in messages sent per day by a factor of 5.”
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,756), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
The teen data in this report is based on the findings of a telephone survey on teens' and parents’ use of mobile phones. The results are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between June 26 and September 24, 2009, among a sample of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for the complete set of weighted data. For methodological information about data collected prior to 2009, please visit our data page http://pewinternet.org/Data-Tools/Download-Data.aspx to find the information at the back of the questionnaire file for each data set.
For both surveys, a combination of landline and cellular random digit dial (RDD) samples was used to represent all adults in the continental United States who have access to either a landline or cellular telephone. For more information, please see the Methodology section.