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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Find out more
Find more in-depth explorations of the impact of mobile adoption by following the links below.
Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021 June 3, 2021
Digital divide persists even as Americans with lower incomes make gains in tech adoption June 22, 2021
Some digital divides persist between rural, urban and suburban America August 19, 2021
Americans with disabilities less likely than those without to own some digital devices September 10, 2021
All reports and blog posts related to mobile technology.