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Interesting Stats on How Many People Have Cell Phones

Mychelle Blake
How Many People Have Cell Phones

Mobile phone use has exploded in the last decade. That's not only the case in the U.S., but worldwide as well. See what these stats reveal about who has cell phones.

How Many People Have Cell Phones in the USA

  • According to the Pew Research Center in 2018, 95 percent of Americans have a mobile phone, while 77 percent have a smartphone. Back in 2011, this percentage was 35.
  • Usages between genders appear even, with 95 percent of men and 94 percent of women owning a cell phone, although a slightly higher percentage of men (80 percent) own a smartphone compared to women (75 percent).
  • The age group 18-29 has a 100 percent ownership, which goes down as low as 8 percent for those 65 and older. However, only 46 percent of seniors have a smartphone, compared to 94 percent of those 18-29, 89 percent for 30-49 and 94 percent for those 50-64.
  • While use of smartphones among seniors is lower, Pew reports the percentage was only 18 percent in 2013 so usage is rising. Seniors 65-69 (59 percent) are more likely to own a smartphone compared to seniors over 80 (17 percent).
  • Smartphone usage also appears higher among people with higher incomes. 67 percent of people making under $30,000 annually have a smartphone, compared to people making $75,000 or more with a percentage of 93 percent.
  • Rural, suburban and urban users have comparable percentages of cell phone ownership, but when it comes to smartphones, 83 percent of urban residents and 78 percent of suburban residents own one. Only 65 percent of rural residents do.
  • The National Center for Health Statistics found that one-third of households in the U.S. had at least three smartphones in 2016.

Interesting Statistics About Mobile Phone Use in the US

  • The average amount of daily time mobile owners use their phones for tasks other than making calls has increased. In 2012 it was one hour and 40 minutes per day. In 2018 it is three hours and 25 minutes.
  • Americans with smartphones do more than half of their media consumption using their devices. In fact, among millennials, almost half (48 percent) will only watch videos on a smartphone.
  • More people read email on their phones than on a desktop. Surveys have found from 47 to 61 percent of email opens are on a smartphone, and 75 percent of users say the number one task they use their phone for is email and not phone calls.
  • More than half of U.S. smartphone users reach for their phone as soon as they wake up.
  • Seven percent of Americans only access the internet via a smartphone, and the percentage of younger adults and low-income individuals who are "smart-phone dependent" is higher compared to other demographics.
  • The average cell phone user touches their phone approximately 2,617 times per day, whereas for heavy users it's over 5,400 times a day. Apple reported that the average iPhone user unlocked their phone 80 times a day.
  • The average teenager sends more than 3,300 texts a month and 71 percent of students report they've received texts during class. Cell phone use is 58 percent in schools with a ban on mobile devices.

Mobile Phones by Brand

How Many People Have Cell Phones in Other Countries

  • Ofcom regulates the use of all communications in the United Kingdom. In 2017 they reported 94 percent of adults owned a mobile phone and 76 percent had a smartphone.
  • Ofcom also collected data on other countries regarding smartphone use in 2017. The percentage of smartphones users was:
    • Australia - 77 percent
    • France - 77 percent
    • Germany - 78 percent
    • Italy - 85 percent
    • Japan - 58 percent
    • Spain - 87 percent
    • Sweden - 78 percent
  • The number of cell phones shipped in China in 2017 was 459 million, and 920 million Chinese watch videos on their phones.

The Growth in Cell Phone Use Worldwide

Mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide have grown over 20 percent from 2011 to 2016. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) found that there was double the amount of mobile phone subscriptions in developed countries compared to developing countries, and four times compared to the least developed countries. Some statistics from the ITU include:

Type of Country

Mobile Phone Subscriptions (Millions) 2005

Mobile Phone Subscriptions (Millions) 2017

Developed

992

1,607

Developing

1,213

6,133

Least Developed

37

692

All Countries

2,205

7,740

Region

Mobile Phone Subscriptions (Millions) 2005

Mobile Phone Subscriptions (Millions) 2017

Africa

87

759

Arab States

84

420

Asia & Pacific

833

4,230

CIS

166

398

Europe

550

745

Americas

459

1,145

  • Using cell phones to access the internet in some countries is now higher than people who use desktop computers.
  • In 2017, Mexico, Indonesia and India are examples of countries where almost four times as many people use a smartphone to go online instead of a computer.
  • Looking at several countries such as Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain and the United Kingdom, mobile phone users use at least twice as many minutes or more to access digital media compared to desktop use.
  • According to Fortune, even some of the world's poorest households are likely to have cell phones, and in fact are more likely to have access to a cell phone that clean water and toilets.

Mobile Phone Use Is Here to Stay

Looking at the statistics, it's clear that mobile phone usage will continue to grow. It soon may replace computer usage to get to the internet due to the convenience and lower cost for many users.

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Interesting Stats on How Many People Have Cell Phones