Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cell Phone Bias

Sometimes the most interesting bits of information come from the most unlikely places. The latest update on cell phone use is contained in recently released estimates from the federal government's National Health Interview Survey. The stunning finding: As of the last six months of 2006, fully 29 percent of adults aged 25 to 29 are cell-phone-only users and have no landline phone. Among 18-to-24-year-olds, the proportion is 25 percent.

The abandonment of landline phones by young adults has occurred with alarming speed. The percentage of 25-to-29-year-olds with cell phones only more than tripled in the past three years, rising from just 8 percent in 2003. Survey researchers are worried. The rise of cell-phone-only households will skew results of random-digit-dial telephone surveys, they fear. "Coverage bias may exist if there are differences between persons with and without landline telephones," the report concludes.

How's this for potential bias:
(percentage of people aged 18 or older with cell phones only, by age, 2006)

Aged 18 to 24: 25
Aged 25 to 29: 29
Aged 30 to 44: 12
Aged 45 to 64: 6
Aged 65-or-older: 2

Saturday, May 12, 2007

For Some, College Is the Biggest Worry

When it comes to money, what worries you the most? When Gallup asked Americans this question, retirement ranked number one. Fifty-six percent of the public is "very" or "moderately" worried about not having enough money for retirement.

Financial concerns vary by lifestage, however. The number-one financial concern of parents with children under age 18 is not having enough money to pay for their children's college expenses. Fully 68 percent of parents say they are very or moderately worried about college costs. Unlike every other financial concern, the percentage who worry about college costs does not decline as household income rises.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Avoiding the Dentist

Working-age Americans are going to the dentist less frequently. The percentage of people aged 20 to 64 who have been to a dentist in the past year fell from 66 percent in 1988-94 to a smaller 60 percent in 1999-04, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

What explains the decline in dental care? One factor is the increasingly exhorbitant cost of a dental visit. Many Americans do not have dental insurance. Those with insurance are often dismayed to discover that it pays only pittance, leaving dental patients footing most of the bill out-of-pocket.

Perhaps because they are less likely to see a dentist, the percentage of adults who say their teeth are in excellent or very good condition fell from 30 to 26 percent during the years of the study.