wireless-mostly households

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) preliminary results for January through June 2014 indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to increase. More than 2 in every 5 American homes (44%) had only wireless phones during the first half of 2014 – an increase of 3% since the second half of 2014.

This report is published as part of the NHIS Early Release Program. Twice each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) releases selected estimates of telephone  coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from NHIS, along with comparable estimates from NHIS for the previous 3 years.

From January through June 2014 information on household telephone status was obtained for 22, 438 households that included at least one civilian adult or child. These households included 42, 262 civilian adults aged 18 and over, and 14,349 children under age 18. The figure below indicates growth in the number of adults and children living in U.S. households with only wireless telephone service from 2003 – 2014.

wireless-mostly households

Demographic Differences

For January – June 2014, there are five demographic groups in which the majority live in households with only wireless telephones: adults aged 18 –44, adults living only with unrelated adult roommates, adults renting their home, adults living in poverty or near poverty and Hispanic adults.


Geographic differences were also noted. Adults living in the Midwest (46.9 %), South (47.3 %), and West (43.8 %) were more likely than those living in the Northeast (27.8 %) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.


Wireless – mostly Households

Among households with both landline and wireless telephones, 33.1% received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. These wireless – mostly households make up 14.8% of all households. During the first 6 months of 2014, about 40 million adults (16.6%) lived in wireless-mostly households. This estimate was significantly lower than the estimate for the second 6 months of 2013 which was 18.3%.


Tables included in this preliminary release provide additional information regarding: Telephone Status; Demographic Differences; Demographic Distributions; Selected Health Measure by Household Telephone Status; and Wireless- mostly Households.


To peruse references, sources of information, and suggested citation, see the entire NHIS release here.


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