Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

AboutFollow Donate

Fact Sheet

January 12, 2017

Mobile Fact Sheet

    MORE FACT SHEETS: INTERNET/BROADBANDSOCIAL MEDIA

    In contrast to the largely stationary internet of the early 2000s, Americans today are increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via smartphones and other mobile devices. Explore the patterns and trends that have shaped the mobile revolution below.

    Mobile phone ownership over time

    The vast majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 77%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011.

    Cellphone Smartphone
    10/27/2002 62%
    11/30/2004 65%
    2/9/2005 66%
    12/31/2005 67%
    3/28/2006 66%
    4/6/2006 73%
    9/5/2007 76%
    12/2/2007 75%
    1/13/2008 77%
    5/11/2008 78%
    8/10/2008 82%
    12/20/2008 84%
    1/27/2009 85%
    4/19/2009 85%
    9/14/2009 84%
    12/27/2009 83%
    1/19/2010 80%
    5/30/2010 82%
    9/13/2010 85%
    11/1/2010 84%
    11/24/2010 82%
    11/28/2010 82%
    12/21/2010 81%
    3/20/2011 86%
    5/22/2011 83% 35%
    8/26/2011 84%
    12/21/2011 87%
    1/8/2012 88%
    1/15/2012 87% 39%
    2/19/2012 88% 45%
    4/3/2012 88% 46%
    8/5/2012 87% 44%
    8/7/2012 89%
    9/6/2012 85% 45%
    9/23/2012 88% 43%
    9/30/2012 89%
    10/14/2012 88%
    11/4/2012 89%
    11/10/2012 84% 46%
    12/9/2012 87% 45%
    12/16/2012 88%
    1/6/2013 89% 51%
    5/19/2013 91% 56%
    7/14/2013 90% 53%
    7/28/2013 91% 53%
    9/16/2013 89% 54%
    9/30/2013 91% 55%
    10/6/2013 92% 58%
    1/5/2014 92% 55%
    1/12/2014 90% 58%
    1/26/2014 91% 55%
    2/18/2014 90%
    4/27/2014 92%
    9/21/2014 91%
    12/21/2014 89% 59%
    4/12/2015 92% 67%
    7/12/2015 92% 68%
    11/15/2015 91% 69%
    4/4/2016 92% 72%
    5/3/2016 92% 70%
    11/6/2016 95% 77%

    Pew Research Center

    Who owns cellphones and smartphones

    A substantial majority of Americans are cellphone owners across a wide range of demographic groups. By contrast, smartphone ownership exhibits greater variation based on age, household income and educational attainment.

    % of U.S. adults who own the following devices

    Any cellphone Smartphone Cellphone, but not smartphone
    Total 95% 77% 18%
    Men 96% 78% 18%
    Women 94% 75% 19%
    White 94% 77% 17%
    Black 94% 72% 23%
    Hispanic 98% 75% 23%
    Ages 18-29 100% 92% 8%
    30-49 99% 88% 11%
    50-64 97% 74% 23%
    65+ 80% 42% 38%
    Less than high school graduate 92% 54% 39%
    High school graduate 92% 69% 23%
    Some college 96% 80% 16%
    College graduate 97% 89% 8%
    Less than $30,000 92% 64% 29%
    $30,000-$49,999 95% 74% 21%
    $50,000-$74,999 96% 83% 13%
    $75,000+ 99% 93% 6%
    Urban 95% 77% 17%
    Suburban 96% 79% 16%
    Rural 94% 67% 27%

    Source: Survey conducted Sept. 29-Nov. 6, 2016.

    Pew Research Center

    Ownership of other devices

    Along with mobile phones, Americans own a range of other information devices. Nearly eight-in-ten U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers, while roughly half now own tablet computers and around one-in-five own e-reader devices.

    E-reader Tablet computer Desktop/laptop computer
    1/13/2008 74%
    4/19/2009 2%
    9/14/2009 3%
    5/30/2010 4% 3%
    6/20/2010 78%
    9/13/2010 5% 4%
    11/24/2010 6% 5%
    5/22/2011 12% 8%
    8/26/2011 9% 10%
    12/21/2011 10% 10% 75%
    1/8/2012 18% 20%
    1/15/2012 19% 19% 78%
    2/19/2012 14% 14%
    4/3/2012 18% 18%
    8/5/2012 19% 21%
    8/7/2012 25%
    11/10/2012 19% 24% 77%
    12/16/2012 29%
    1/6/2013 26% 31%
    5/19/2013 24% 34%
    9/30/2013 24% 34%
    4/12/2015 19% 45% 73%
    4/4/2016 17% 48% 74%
    11/6/2016 22% 51% 78%

    Pew Research Center

    Smartphone dependency over time

    As the adoption of traditional broadband service has slowed in recent years, a growing share of Americans now use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. Today just over one-in-ten American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.

    U.S. adults
    2013 8%
    2014 --
    2015 13%
    2016 12%

    Pew Research Center

    Who is smartphone dependent

    Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, non-whites and lower-income Americans.

    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Education
    • Community

    Find out more

    Find more in-depth explorations of the impact of mobile adoption by following the links below.

    Home Broadband 2015: Barriers to broadband adoption Dec. 21, 2015
    Technology Device Ownership 2015 Oct. 29, 2015
    U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015 April 1, 2015

    All reports and blog posts related to mobile technology