Cell phones have moved beyond fashionable accessory and into the realm of life necessity – just as many adults have a cell phone as have a computer. Cell phones are now toted by more than four in five American adults (82%). Cell phone ownership is up from 65% of American adults in November 2004, but has remained steady since 2009. More adults have a cell phone than have an iPod or mp3 player (46%) or e-Book reader (4%), and just as many adults have a computer (79% have a laptop or desktop) as have a mobile phone. One third (35%) of those who do not own a cell phone live in households where someone else has a cell phone.
Black and English-speaking Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone, with 87% of African-Americans and Hispanics owning a phone, compared with 80% of whites. Young adults are much more likely than older ones to own a cell phone – with the youngest most likely to own a cell phone and the oldest adults the least likely to own one. Those with higher levels of education and annual household income are also more likely to possess a cell phone. Parents, with their logistics-heavy lives, are more likely to have a cell phone than adults without minor children in the home (90% vs. 78%). People who live in rural areas (72%) are also less likely to have a cell phone than those who live in suburban (82%) or urban areas (85%). Further, internet users and those with home broadband are substantially more likely to use cell phones than those who do not go online and do not have broadband at home. Nevertheless, more than half (53%) of adults who do not use the internet at all have a cell phone.