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Mobile devices are an increasingly important aspect of total connection, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a project of the Pew Research Center. About 88 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind as of April 2012, and 55 percent of these cell owners use their device to go online.
About half of American cell owners (53 percent, representing 46 percent of all U.S. adults) now own a smartphone—about 90 percent of smartphone owners say they use their phones to go online.
The data was drawn from a national telephone survey conducted March 15-April 3, 2012. There were 2,254 adults age 18 and over surveyed, and about 903 interviews were conducted on respondent’s cell phone.
Since 88 percent of U.S. adults now own a cell phone, says Pew, it means 49 percent of all U.S. adults go online using a cell phone at least occasionally. About 74 percent of cell phone Internet users say they go online using their phone on a typical day, meaning that on a typical day, 41 percent of all cell owners are using their phone to go online.
When asked why cell-mostly Internet respondents conduct most of their online browsing on mobile phones, 64 percent mentioned factors related to convenience, or the always-available nature of mobile devices. For some cell-mostly Internet users (18 percent), their online habits simply make mobile phones an easier option for browsing.
Young adults and non-whites are more likely to use their cell phones for most of their Internet activity. About 45 percent of 18-29-year-olds surveyed use their phones to do most of their online browsing, and 51 percent of African-American cell Internet users do most of their browsing on their mobile device.
Demographic differences between different groups do exist. According to Pew, some factors include:
• Race/Ethnicity—Roughly two-thirds of black and Latino cell owners go online using their mobile phones, compared with half of whites.
• Geographic location—Even though the proportion of rural cell owners who go online using their phones has more than doubled since April 2009, urban and suburban cell owners remain significantly more likely than their rural counterparts to go online using their phones.
• Household income and educational attainment—Along with having high overall levels of smartphone ownership, the relatively well-off and well-educated are more likely than cell owners with lower levels of income and education to use their phones to go online.
About 31 percent of cell phone Internet using respondents say they mostly use their cell phone to go online, with six in 10 or 60 percent saying they mostly go online using some other kind of device. Nearly two thirds of cell mostly users say convenience or availability is a factor of their device preferences.
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