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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 - 97% - now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own a smartphone is now 85%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011.

CellphoneSmartphone
10/27/200262%
11/30/200465%
2/9/200566%
12/31/200567%
3/28/200666%
4/6/200673%
9/5/200776%
12/2/200775%
1/13/200877%
5/11/200878%
8/10/200882%
12/20/200884%
1/27/200985%
4/19/200985%
9/14/200984%
12/27/200983%
1/19/201080%
5/30/201082%
9/13/201085%
11/1/201084%
11/24/201082%
11/28/201082%
12/21/201081%
3/20/201186%
5/22/201183%35%
8/26/201184%
12/21/201187%
1/8/201288%
1/15/201287%39%
2/19/201288%45%
4/3/201288%46%
8/5/201287%44%
8/7/201289%
9/6/201285%45%
9/23/201288%43%
9/30/201289%
10/14/201288%
11/4/201289%
11/10/201284%46%
12/9/201287%45%
12/16/201288%
1/6/201389%51%
5/19/201391%56%
7/14/201390%53%
7/28/201391%53%
9/16/201389%54%
9/30/201391%55%
10/6/201392%58%
1/5/201492%55%
1/12/201490%58%
1/26/201491%55%
2/18/201490%
4/27/201492%
9/21/201491%
12/21/201489%59%
4/12/201592%67%
7/12/201592%68%
11/15/201591%69%
4/4/201692%72%
5/3/201692%70%
11/6/201695%77%
1/10/201895%77%
2/7/201996%81%
2/8/202197%85%

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 say they own a ...

CellphoneSmartphoneCellphone, but not smartphone
Total97%85%11%
Men97%85%11%
Women98%85%12%
Ages 18-29100%96%4%
30-49100%95%5%
50-6497%83%12%
65+92%61%29%
White97%85%11%
Black99%83%15%
Hispanic100%85%14%
High school or less96%75%19%
Some college98%89%9%
College graduate98%93%5%
Less than $ 30,00097%76%19%
$30,000-$49,99997%83%14%
$50,000-$74,99997%85%12%
$75,000+100%96%3%
Urban98%89%9%
Suburban97%84%12%
Rural94%80%14%

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. White and Black adults include those who report being only one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race.
Source: Survey of U.S. adults conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021.

Pew Research Center

Ownership of other devices

Along with mobile phones, Americans own a range of other information devices. About three quarters of U.S. adults now own a desktop or laptop computer, while roughly half own a tablet computer.

E-readerTablet computerDesktop / laptop computer
1/13/200874%
4/19/20092%
9/14/20093%
5/30/20104%3%
6/20/201078%
9/13/20105%4%
11/24/20106%5%
5/22/201112%8%
8/26/20119%10%
12/21/201110%10%75%
1/8/201218%20%
1/15/201219%19%78%
2/19/201214%14%
4/3/201218%18%
8/5/201219%21%
8/7/201225%
11/10/201219%24%77%
12/16/201229%
1/6/201326%31%
5/19/201324%34%
9/30/201324%34%
4/12/201519%45%73%
4/4/201617%48%74%
11/6/201622%51%78%
1/10/201853%73%
2/7/201952%74%
2/8/202153%77%

Pew Research Center

Smartphone dependency over time

There has been a steady decline of those who use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home in recent years. Today, 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users - meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.

U.S. adults
20138%
2014--
201513%
201612%
2017--
201820%
201917%
202115%

Pew Research Center

Who is smartphone dependent

Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, lower-income Americans and those with a high school education or less.

18-2930-4950-6465+
201312%9%7%3%
2014--------
201519%16%11%7%
201617%13%11%7%
2017--------
201828%24%16%10%
201922%18%14%12%
202128%11%13%12%

Pew Research Center

WhiteBlackHispanic
20136%10%16%
2014------
201510%19%23%
20169%15%23%
2017------
201814%24%35%
201912%23%25%
202112%17%25%

Pew Research Center

MenWomen
20139%8%
2014----
201514%13%
201612%12%
2017----
201820%19%
201917%16%
202114%15%

Pew Research Center

Less than $ 30,000$30,000-$49,999$50,000-$74,999$75,000+
201312%9%5%5%
2014--------
201520%15%10%6%
201621%12%10%5%
2017--------
201831%22%14%9%
201926%20%10%6%
202127%19%6%6%

Pew Research Center

Less than high school graduateHigh school graduateHigh school or lessSome collegeCollege graduate
201314%11%--8%4%
2014----------
201521%17%--14%6%
201627%15%--12%5%
2017----------
201839%22%--21%10%
201932%24%--16%4%
202123%15%4%

Pew Research Center

UrbanSuburbanRural
20139%7%9%
2014------
201515%12%15%
201612%12%14%
2017------
201822%17%17%
201917%13%20%
202116%12%17%

Pew Research Center

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

All reports and blog posts related to mobile technology.