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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2009
Contact: CDC National Center for Health Statistics
Office of Communication
(301) 458-4800



Wireless-Only Phone Use Varies Widely Across United States

Many adults with only cellphones not being included in important health surveys

Oklahoma leads the nation in the percentage of households with cell phones only, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  More than a quarter of households (26.2 percent) in Oklahoma had only wireless and no landline phones in 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, only 5.1 percent of households in Vermont were wireless–only in 2007. 

The report from CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics, “Wireless Substitution: State–level Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–December 2007,” is the latest report on wireless substitution in the United States. 

“These findings are important to CDC because many of our largest surveys are done on calls to landline phone numbers.  All of those adults with only cell phones are being missed in these surveys,” said Stephen J. Blumberg, health scientist with CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the study.

In addition to Oklahoma, states with the highest percentage of wireless–only households are Utah (25.5 percent), Nebraska (23.2 percent), Arkansas (22.6 percent), and Idaho (22.1 percent). States with the lowest percentages, following Vermont, are Connecticut (5.6 percent), Delaware (5.7 percent), South Dakota (6.4 percent), and Rhode Island (7.9 percent).

The report also shows the percentage of adults who use only wireless phones is also highest in Oklahoma (25.1 percent) and lowest in Delaware (4 percent). The District of Columbia also had a high percentage of adults who use cell phones only (25.4 percent).

The percentage of wireless–only phone use among households and adults varies greatly within regions. For example, in the Midwest, the state that has the most wireless–only households, Nebraska (23.2 percent), borders the state with the least, South Dakota (6.4 percent). 

Results from previous CDC reports on wireless substitution show wireless–only phone use continues to grow on a national level. A recent report found that 17.5 percent of U.S. homes had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008–nearly 3 percentage points greater than the estimate for 2007 (14.7 percent). The percentage of adults using only wireless–only phones also grew from 13.6 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in the first half of 2008.

The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr014.pdf.

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