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35% of American Adults Own a Smartphone

Pew Internet and American Life Project

In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that one third of American adults—35%—own smartphones. The Pew Internet Project’s

May survey found that 83% of U.S. adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults. Our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who falls into either of the following two categories:

  • One-third of cell owners (33%) say that their phone is a smartphone.
  • Two-in-five cell owners (39%) say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform (these include iPhones and Blackberry devices, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems).



And here’s how they feel about their devices:

Smartphone adoption is highest among the affluent and well-educated, the (relatively) young, and non-whites

Several groups have higher than average levels of smartphone adoption, including:

  • The financially well-off and well-educated—59% of adults living in a household earning income of $75,000 or more are smartphone owners; 48% of those with a college degree own smartphones.
  • Those younger than age 45—58% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 now own a smartphone as do 49% of those ages 18-24 and 44% of those ages 35-44. Even among those with a household income of $30,000 or less, smartphone ownership rates for those ages 18-29 are equal to the national average.
  • African-Americans and Latinos—44% of blacks and Latinos are smartphone users.
  • Urban and suburban residents are roughly twice as likely to own a smartphone as those living in rural areas, and employment status is also strongly correlated with smartphone ownership.



Mobile phones are a main source of internet access for one-quarter of the smartphone population.

Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.

Read more here.

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