The Center for Disease Control has released a preview of their bi-annual study on Cell Phone Households from the last 1/2 of 2008. Of course it grew again and now over 20% of the households in the country have no land line. Another 14.5% take almost all of their calls on the cell phone despite having a land line.
That's nearly 35% of the country and if you break it down by demos and over the last 6 years it's a pretty amazing graph:
In 18-34s is around 40% - nearly half and at the rate it is growing it will probably hit 50% of this demo before 09 ends. Even when you move to the 45+ cells it's around 15%.
Keep in mind that this study was from last year and with the recession hitting so hard as the year wrapped up no doubt the growth of Cell Phone Only households will pick up even more. Cutting out the 20 or 30 bucks a month to the land line is really pretty painless - gee now I can add the data package and not even notice it.
Aside from the trends in the audience here we also have to realize that this greatly affects our ability to have somewhat accurate audience ratings and research. Connecting with Cell Phones for research is very hard or impossible as we all know seeing the shrinking samples in our audience research. We also have to look at the audience research we do in music tests and perceptual studies. If they are based on telephone samples they are missing at least 20% and probably closer to 40% of the population and in the younger demos it's over 50%.
If you look at the early snippets from the study you can see that the cell phone only world is different on many levels. We'll see more in a few weeks when the whole study is released. You can read the preview here.