Accessing the Internet via mobile devices is widespread and growing, but for some Americans a smartphone is their only link to the Web.
A new survey from Pew Research Center finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19 percent of them rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information.
However, 7 percent of Americans own a smartphone — but have neither traditional broadband service at home nor easily available alternatives for accessing the Web other than their cell phone.
Overall, 64 percent of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35 percent in the spring of 2011. Smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans, and those with relatively high income and education levels, Pew says.
Pew said that certain groups of Americans rely on smartphones for online access at “elevated levels,” in particular:
- Younger adults — 15% of Americans ages 18-29 are heavily dependent on a smartphone for online access.
- Those with low household incomes and levels of educational attainment — Some 13 percent of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1 percent of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access.
- Non-whites — 12 percent of African Americans and 13 percent of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared with 4 percent of white
Pew: “Compared with smartphone owners who are less reliant on their mobile devices, these smartphone-dependent users are less likely to own some other type of computing device, less likely to have a bank account, less likely to be covered by health insurance, and more likely to rent or to live with a friend or family member rather than own their own home.”