Smartphone, broadband usage grows in US: survey

·2-min read
The Pew Research Center said 85 percent of US adults have smartphones, up from 81 percent in 2019, while 77 percent reported home broadband subscriptions, four percentage points higher than in a similar survey two years earlier.

The vast majority of US adults now use a smartphone and have high-speed internet at home, following modest growth over the past two years, a survey showed Thursday.

The Pew Research Center said 85 percent of adults have smartphones, up from 81 percent in 2019, while 77 percent reported home broadband subscriptions, four percentage points higher than in a similar survey two years earlier.

The survey showed 91 percent had internet access either from a smartphone or home broadband, Pew said.

But the figures show a stubbornly large segment of the population lacking home broadband, with many people saying the cost is too high either for a computer or an internet subscription.

The survey, taken as more people rely on the internet for work, school and other activities, also showed 30 percent of respondents often or sometimes experienced problems connecting to the internet at home. That included nine percent who say such problems happen often.

The researchers found roughly 15 percent of US adults are "smartphone-only" internet users, who have no broadband connection at home.

The survey also found smartphone usage correlated with age, with 96 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds using mobile handsets compared with 61 percent for those over 65. Smartphone adoption was also correlated to higher household income and higher levels of education.

For home broadband -- a topic being debated by US lawmakers and policymakers seeking to encourage internet adoption -- income levels were a key factor. Just 57 percent of those with household incomes under $30,000 annually had high-speed connections, compared with more than 90 percent for those earning more than $75,000.

"While there has been slight growth in the share who say they subscribe to high-speed internet, about a quarter of the population still does not have a broadband internet connection at home," said the report led by researcher Andrew Perrin.

"And broadband non-adopters continue to cite financial constraints as one of the most important reasons why they forgo these services."

The report was based on a survey of 1,502 US adults from January 25 to February 8 by cell and landline phone with an estimated margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

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