Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

New Pew Report Confirms What We Already Knew: More Than Half of U.S. Adults Now Have Smartphones

We’ve crossed the barrier, beyond the great divide. There’s no turning back now.


Flickr/Ei Katsumata

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but a new report from Pew Research today confirms what we sort of suspected anyway: That more than half of adults in the U.S. are now smartphone owners — 56 percent, to be exact.

And the majority of 18-to-24-year-olds have smartphones — even if they’re broke.

You might vaguely recall a similar report from about a year ago stating that more than half (53 percent) of Americans were smartphone owners. I asked Pew about this, and as I understand it, here’s how these reports differ:

Last year’s Pew report found that smartphone owners represented 53 percent of cellphone owners. This year’s data shows that smartphone owners have crossed the 50 percent barrier for the total population, for the first time.

According to Aaron Smith, senior researcher for Pew, “Both overall cellphone ownership and the proportion of those cell owners who have a smartphone increased in tandem, which accounts for the big overall jump.”

The year-over-year percentage point increase (again at the general population level) is 21 points from Spring 2011, and 10 points from Spring 2012.

Some other interesting nuggets from the report:

  • The overwhelming majority of smartphone owners have graduated from college or have attended some college; 78 percent of them have annual income of $75,000 or more.
  • The 18-to-24-year-old age group is smartphone-obsessed. Some 79 percent said they have a smartphone, when they looked up from texting long enough to respond to the survey. But Grandma’s getting pretty hip, too: 18 percent of the over-65 crowd said they have a smartphone.
  • 28 percent of cellphone owners (as a whole, not just the smartphoners) claim to have an Android phone, while 25 percent say they have an iPhone.
  • BlackBerry is the loser here, with just four percent of cellphone owners copping to owning a Blackberry. This is down 10 percent from two years ago.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald