THE NUMERATOR

CDC survey: Cell phones hot, landlines not

For the first time, the number of U.S. households that have cell phones but not landline phones has surpassed the number that have landlines but not cell phones, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC attributed the increase in cell phone-only use to the recession, which is causing households to pinch pennies. Sixty percent of households have both landline and cell phones.

2003 2008
Cell phones only: 3% 20%
Landline phones only: 43% 17%

Source: CDC’s National Health Interview Survey

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

Reader Comments

Sat, Jan 16, 2010 Kem Champaign, IL

The CDC runs all sorts of studies on American health. Traditional sampling methods have relied on landlines to avoid bias and to make sure that representations about the general population are as accurate as possible. If polling people via landlines is inadvertently excluding 20% of the population (particularly since that 20% is fairly likely to be disproportionately low income, and least likely to be receiving adequate health care), that's an important thing to take into consideration.

Sat, May 30, 2009 cheap chick

I got rid of my land line last year. I also changed cellphone providers. I dumped my AT&T phone and got out of my cellphone contract when the company changed its terms. (Did you know that if they do that, it voids the contract? They don't tell you that, but I saw it on the Consumerist site and it worked! No termination fee too. Haha.) Anyway, I got a prepaid Net10 phone and everything is 10 cents a minute... even International calls which is great since my son is traveling right now. But the best thing about this is that there aren't any bills and I know what my costs are because I pay upfront for my calls. It's great!

Thu, May 21, 2009 Tom Savage

It's not my survey, but... To obtain a random sample, cellphones must be included along with landlines, and the distribution of cell/land lines must be taken into account in data analysis. The means of administering the survey must be collected along with the real subject matter. It's that sort of incidental information that can sometimes be judged more newsworthy than the Health Information, which was the purpose of the National Health Interview Survey. By the way, it is a very informative survey which has been administered for many Years by the National Center for Health Statistics, one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let's give credit where credit is due.

Mon, May 18, 2009 Dew

Why is CDC doing this type of poll, what does this have to do with the CDC mission or even health?

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