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

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