US CDC: 25% of US Homes Have No Landline

The US Center for Disease Control has been tracking the decline in landlines since 2003, when only a small percentage of the US population lived in homes that qualified as wireless only. That number has now grown to more than 25% of the population. In other words:

One of every four American homes (24.5%) One of every four American homes (24.5%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the last half of 2009— an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the first half of 2009. In addition, one of every seven American homes (14.9%) had a landline yet received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones.


  • 24.5% have only wireless in their homes
  • 14.9% have landlines but receive all or almost all calls on their wireless phones

That means about 40% of US households have no landline or use the landline as what might be described as a "spam catcher" -- receiving all meaningful calls on their mobile phones. This latter group, for whom the mobile phone is primary, is perhaps reflective of a much larger slice of the population than the 15% the survey reflects. 

The implications for telephone sales/telemarketers, pollsters, fundraisers and others are very clear, especially when combined with the do not call registry. In addition, federal regulations prevent the use of machine dialing for mobile phones in the US. (That doesn't mean telemarketers won't try this.) Legally marketers can key in numbers manually; but this means that telemarketing to mobile phones becomes more difficult, inefficient and almost prohibitively costly. In addition there are no reliable lists of mobile numbers to draw upon. 

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