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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.

Cellphone Smartphone
10/27/2002 62%
11/30/2004 65%
2/9/2005 66%
12/31/2005 67%
3/28/2006 66%
4/6/2006 73%
9/5/2007 76%
12/2/2007 75%
1/13/2008 77%
5/11/2008 78%
8/10/2008 82%
12/20/2008 84%
1/27/2009 85%
4/19/2009 85%
9/14/2009 84%
12/27/2009 83%
1/19/2010 80%
5/30/2010 82%
9/13/2010 85%
11/1/2010 84%
11/24/2010 82%
11/28/2010 82%
12/21/2010 81%
3/20/2011 86%
5/22/2011 83% 35%
8/26/2011 84%
12/21/2011 87%
1/8/2012 88%
1/15/2012 87% 39%
2/19/2012 88% 45%
4/3/2012 88% 46%
8/5/2012 87% 44%
8/7/2012 89%
9/6/2012 85% 45%
9/23/2012 88% 43%
9/30/2012 89%
10/14/2012 88%
11/4/2012 89%
11/10/2012 84% 46%
12/9/2012 87% 45%
12/16/2012 88%
1/6/2013 89% 51%
5/19/2013 91% 56%
7/14/2013 90% 53%
7/28/2013 91% 53%
9/16/2013 89% 54%
9/30/2013 91% 55%
10/6/2013 92% 58%
1/5/2014 92% 55%
1/12/2014 90% 58%
1/26/2014 91% 55%
2/18/2014 90%
4/27/2014 92%
9/21/2014 91%
12/21/2014 89% 59%
4/12/2015 92% 67%
7/12/2015 92% 68%
11/15/2015 91% 69%
4/4/2016 92% 72%
5/3/2016 92% 70%
11/6/2016 95% 77%
1/10/2018 95% 77%
2/7/2019 96% 81%
2/8/2021 97% 85%

Pew Research Center

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.

% of U.S. adults who say they own a …

Cellphone Smartphone Cellphone, but not smartphone
Total 97% 85% 11%
Men 97% 85% 11%
Women 98% 85% 12%
Ages 18-29 100% 96% 4%
30-49 100% 95% 5%
50-64 97% 83% 12%
65+ 92% 61% 29%
White 97% 85% 11%
Black 99% 83% 15%
Hispanic 100% 85% 14%
High school or less 96% 75% 19%
Some college 98% 89% 9%
College graduate 98% 93% 5%
Less than $30,000 97% 76% 19%
$30,000-$49,999 97% 83% 14%
$50,000-$74,999 97% 85% 12%
$75,000+ 100% 96% 3%
Urban 98% 89% 9%
Suburban 97% 84% 12%
Rural 94% 80% 14%

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. White and Black adults include those who report being only one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race.
Source: Survey of U.S. adults conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021.

Pew Research Center

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.

E-reader Tablet computer Desktop/laptop computer
1/13/2008 74%
4/19/2009 2%
9/14/2009 3%
5/30/2010 4% 3%
6/20/2010 78%
9/13/2010 5% 4%
11/24/2010 6% 5%
5/22/2011 12% 8%
8/26/2011 9% 10%
12/21/2011 10% 10% 75%
1/8/2012 18% 20%
1/15/2012 19% 19% 78%
2/19/2012 14% 14%
4/3/2012 18% 18%
8/5/2012 19% 21%
8/7/2012 25%
11/10/2012 19% 24% 77%
12/16/2012 29%
1/6/2013 26% 31%
5/19/2013 24% 34%
9/30/2013 24% 34%
4/12/2015 19% 45% 73%
4/4/2016 17% 48% 74%
11/6/2016 22% 51% 78%
1/10/2018 53% 73%
2/7/2019 52% 74%
2/8/2021 53% 77%

Pew Research Center

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.

U.S. adults
2013 8%
2014 --
2015 13%
2016 12%
2017 --
2018 20%
2019 17%
2021 15%

Pew Research Center

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.

18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
2013 12% 9% 7% 3%
2014 -- -- -- --
2015 19% 16% 11% 7%
2016 17% 13% 11% 7%
2017 -- -- -- --
2018 28% 24% 16% 10%
2019 22% 18% 14% 12%
2021 28% 11% 13% 12%

Pew Research Center

White Black Hispanic
2013 6% 10% 16%
2014 -- -- --
2015 10% 19% 23%
2016 9% 15% 23%
2017 -- -- --
2018 14% 24% 35%
2019 12% 23% 25%
2021 12% 17% 25%

Pew Research Center

Men Women
2013 9% 8%
2014 -- --
2015 14% 13%
2016 12% 12%
2017 -- --
2018 20% 19%
2019 17% 16%
2021 14% 15%

Pew Research Center

Less than $30,000 $30,000-$49,999 $50,000-$74,999 $75,000+
2013 12% 9% 5% 5%
2014 -- -- -- --
2015 20% 15% 10% 6%
2016 21% 12% 10% 5%
2017 -- -- -- --
2018 31% 22% 14% 9%
2019 26% 20% 10% 6%
2021 27% 19% 6% 6%

Pew Research Center

Less than high school graduate High school graduate High school or less Some college College graduate
2013 14% 11% -- 8% 4%
2014 -- -- -- -- --
2015 21% 17% -- 14% 6%
2016 27% 15% -- 12% 5%
2017 -- -- -- -- --
2018 39% 22% -- 21% 10%
2019 32% 24% -- 16% 4%
2021 23% 15% 4%

Pew Research Center

Urban Suburban Rural
2013 9% 7% 9%
2014 -- -- --
2015 15% 12% 15%
2016 12% 12% 14%
2017 -- -- --
2018 22% 17% 17%
2019 17% 13% 20%
2021 16% 12% 17%

Pew Research Center

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.