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Fact Sheet

June 12, 2019

Mobile Fact Sheet

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    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 – 96% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 81%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. Along with mobile phones, Americans own a range of other information devices. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers, while roughly half now own tablet computers and roughly half own e-reader devices.

    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%
    1/10/2018 95% 77%
    2/7/2019 96% 81%

    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 96% 81% 15%
    Men 98% 84% 14%
    Women 95% 79% 16%
    Ages 18-29 99% 96% 4%
    30-49 99% 92% 6%
    50-64 95% 79% 17%
    65+ 91% 53% 39%
    White 96% 82% 14%
    Black 98% 80% 17%
    Hispanic 96% 79% 17%
    Less than high school graduate 92% 66% 25%
    High school graduate 96% 72% 24%
    Some college 96% 85% 11%
    College graduate 98% 91% 7%
    Less than $30,000 95% 71% 23%
    $30,000-$49,999 96% 78% 18%
    $50,000-$74,999 98% 90% 8%
    $75,000+ 100% 95% 5%
    Urban 97% 83% 13%
    Suburban 96% 83% 13%
    Rural 95% 71% 24%

    Source: Survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019.

    Pew Research Center

    Ownership of other devices

    Along with mobile phones, Americans own a range of other information devices. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers, while roughly half now own tablet computers and roughly half 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%
    1/10/2018 53% 73%
    2/7/2019 52% 74%

    Pew Research Center

    Smartphone dependency over time

    A growing share of Americans now use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. Today roughly one-in-five 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%
    2017 --
    2018 20%
    2019 17%

    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.

    Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 June 13, 2019
    Digital gap between rural and nonrural America persists May 31, 2019
    Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption May 7, 2019
    Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life May 2, 2018
    About a quarter of U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online March 14, 2018
    Nearly one-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks March 8, 2018
    A third of Americans live in a household with three or more smartphones May 25, 2017
    Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults May 17, 2017

    All reports and blog posts related to mobile technology.