The Demographics of “Cell-Mostly” Internet Users

September 17, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Digital | Hispanic | Household Income | Mobile Phone | Youth & Gen X

Pew-Demos-Cell-Mostly-Internet-Users-Sept201363% of mobile phone owners used their devices to go online as of May this year, according to [pdf] a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, and of those, 34% said they go online mostly using their mobile phone (“cell-mostly internet users”). Despite no gender differences, there are some strong variations in cell-mostly internet use when sorting by age, ethnicity, education attainment and household income.

Predictably, the percentage of mobile internet users who rely mostly on their device for access is higher among younger age brackets. Exactly half of 18-29 mobile internet users claim to go online mostly using their phone, a figure which drops to 35% in the 30-49 bracket, 14% in the 50-64 group, and 10% in the 65+ crowd.

Pew recently found Hispanics to have an above-average incidence of mobile check-in services use, and Hispanics also stand out in this latest survey of cell-mostly internet use. Fully 60% of Hispanic mobile internet users primarily use their phone for internet access. Black Americans aren’t far behind (43%), although only 27% of white mobile internet users are cell-mostly internet users.

Beyond age and ethnicity, there is also a strong skew towards lesser-educated, lower-income respondents. Among mobile internet users, 45% who count their education attainment as high school graduate or below primarily use their phone to access the internet. That’s about twice the proportion (21%) of those with a college degree. Similarly, 45% of mobile internet users with household income of less than $30,000 go online mostly using their mobile phone, compared to 27% of their counterparts in households with at least $75,000 in annual income.

The demographics of teen cell-mostly internet users can be found here.

About the Data: The results in the report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,125) and cell phone (1,127, including 571 without a landline phone).

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