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Majority of Americans Own Smartphones

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Cell phones are being called the most quickly adopted consumer technology in history as new studies show that 91 percent of Americans now own a cell phone. That’s up from 65 percent in 2004.

And smartphones are now used by 56 percent of American adults, according to new research by the Pew Research Center.

Among young people aged 12-17, 78 percent have a cell phone, with 37 percent of those being smartphones.

More people also own tablets than ever before – 34 percent of Americans now own a tablet, and 26 percent own an e-reader.

While many cell phone owners in earlier studies used their cell phones primarily for emergencies and were irritated by loud cell phone users, cell phones have become so ubiquitous in our society that:

  • 44 percent of cell owners sleep with the phone next to their bed
  • 67 percent check for messages and alerts even when the phone doesn’t ring
  • 29 percent say they “can’t imagine living without” their cell phones

Those surveyed said they believe their smartphones make them more productive because they can plan better as well as improve their social life since it is easier to connect with friends. Many also said using their smartphones can save them money as they are able to compare prices on their phones while they shop.

On a typical day, smartphone owners use their phones to:

  • Check the weather, 52 percent
  • Visit a social networking site, 50 percent
  • Play a game, 37 percent
  • Read the news, 36 percent
  • Listen to music, 22 percent
  • Do online banking, 21 percent
  • Get directions while driving, 15 percent

Today, 82 percent of cell phone owners use their phones to take pictures and 80 percent use it to text message. The 9 percent of Americans who do not own a cell phone tend to be older than 65, live in households earning less than $30,000 a year, or live in remote rural areas.


The Afterschool Alliance is delighted to have Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman as its audit firm.  

Jodi Grant |  Executive Director
Afterschool Alliance