Thursday, April 21, 2011

About those Landline Phones

Here is the AP headline in today's newspaper: "Landlines Falling by the Wayside." The story behind the headline describes the results of a new survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, released yesterday, that measured the presence of wireless and landline telephones in households by state. According to the results, 27 percent of households use wireless telephones only. This figure surpasses the 13 percent with landlines only. Thus the headline.

It is always a good idea to turn numbers around in your head and look at them from the opposite direction. If 27 percent of households are wireless only, then 73 percent of households still have a landline phone (minus a percentage point or two to account for households without any telephone whatsoever). Affluent households are most likely to have landlines, since they can afford both types of phones. In New Hampshire, the most affluent state, 83 percent of adults live in households with a landline phone. In Connecticut, the second most affluent state, the figure is an even higher 86 percent (the highest in the nation). In Mississippi and Arkansas, the two poorest states, 63 percent of adults are in homes with landline phones--the lowest in the nation but still a big number. The majority, in fact.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Wireless Substitution: State-level Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January 2007-June 2010

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