Landline Phone Demographics: 49 User Facts & Numbers [2023]

Despite the rise of mobile technology, landlines still play a crucial role in many households.

We’ll explore who’s holding onto their landline phones and why, providing insights that might just surprise you.

Quick Demographic Facts About Landline Phone Users

  • Landline spending as a share of total telephone services decreases with age, with the under-25 age group spending 94.0% on cellular phone services and the 75-and-older group spending 49.4%.
  • The Landline Phones segment is expected to show a volume growth of 1.3% in 2024.
  • In a typical survey conducted in 2015, approximately 29% of respondents were dual users (owning both landline and cellphone) reached in the landline sample, and an additional 27% were dual users reached in the cellphone sample.
  • 85% of American adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and 97% own a cellphone of some kind.

This data highlights the continued decline in landline usage as more people adopt smartphones and rely on cellular services.

It’s interesting holding this demographic breakdown up against the demographics of cable TV users.

Age Demographics of Landline Users

  • Cellular phone service expenditures for consumer units with a reference person 65 years or older increased by 154.5 percent from 2007 to 2017.
    • This percentage includes an increase of 185.8 percent for those households with a reference person age 75 years or older.
  • In 2004, more than 90 percent of U.S. adults lived in households with landline phones.
    • This number has significantly decreased with the increased use of smartphones.
  • Smartphone ownership, as of 2021, is at 68% for adults, up from 35% in mid-2011.
  • Only 30% of adults age 65 and older own smartphones, contributing to the remaining reliance on landlines.
  • The change in landline usage is observed across all age groups, with the oldest age group experiencing the highest percent change in cellular phone service expenditures between 2007 and 2017.
  • For consumer units with a reference person 65 years or older, cellular phone service expenditures increased by 154.5% from 2007 to 2017.
  • This percentage includes an increase of 185.8% for households with a reference person age 75 years or older.

The data indicates a shift from landlines to smartphones, primarily among younger generations. This transition has been slower in older age groups, leading to a higher percentage of landline usage among seniors.

The technological landscape suggests continued trends away from landline phones, with the growth of smartphones and digital payment options.

Ethnicity Demographics of Landline Users

  • African American households have a higher percentage of landline users compared to other ethnic groups, with about 64% saying they have a landline phone.
  • For White households, about 60% reported having a landline telephone.
  • Hispanic households have the lowest landline usage rate, with only about 45% having a landline.

Differences in landline usage among various ethnic communities could be attributed to factors such as age differences, socioeconomic status, and technological adoption behaviors.

Understanding these patterns can help guide targeted strategies for improving access to and utilization of communication services within these communities.

Demographic Distribution Across U.S. States

  • In the United States, 93% of adults use cell phones and the internet, while the remaining proportion of people might still rely on traditional landline phones.
  • The share of spending on cellular phone services decreases with increasing age, with the highest percentage (94.0%) found in the under-25 age group, while the lowest one (49.4%) is observed in the 75-and-older group.
  • Per person revenues for landline phones are estimated to be around US$3.22 in 2023.

The data implies a noteworthy generational gap in landline phone usage among the American population.

As more people adopt internet-based communication, landline use is expected to decline, but it still maintains a presence among older demographics.

Political Demographics

  • According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, when landline interviews were excluded, the percentage of adults aged 65 and older identifying as Republican or leaning Republican increased from 46% to 47%.
    • Among adults aged 80 and older, this reflected a 7-point increase, while there was no change among adults aged 65 to 79 group.
  • In 2022, smartphone ownership reached 85% among American adults, and home broadband subscription rates increased to 77% from 73% in 2019.
    • Simultaneously, landline phone usage has been on the decline, with over 90% of U.S. adults having used landlines in 2004.
  • In 2017, households with a reference person under 25 years of age had the highest percentage share allocated to expenditures on cellular phone services at 94.0%, compared to 75.3% in 2007.

These data points suggest a shift in technology usage across different age and political demographics, with younger and more tech-savvy individuals relying less on landlines and more on mobile devices and broadband connections.

Education Level Demographics

In the United States, there is a correlation between education level and landline phone usage. The following statistics highlight the differences in landline use across varying educational attainment levels:

  • Among individuals with a high school diploma or less, 45% still use landline phones.
  • For people with some college education, the percentage of landline users is slightly lower, at 40%.
  • The number of landline users decreases further among individuals with a bachelor’s degree, with 35% using landlines.
  • The lowest percentage of landline users is found among those with an advanced degree, with approximately 30% using landlines.

While these statistics give us a general understanding of landline phone usage among different segments of the population, it’s essential to remember that digital communication methods, such as smartphones and internet services, have become more accessible and affordable.

As a result, landline phone usage has seen a decline across all education levels, particularly among younger and more tech-savvy individuals.

Average Income Level

  • People with lower incomes are less likely to own a smartphone or have home broadband.
  • In 2021, 96% of U.S. adults with a household income of $75,000 or more owned a smartphone.
  • Adults aged 65 and older, who tend to have lower incomes, are less likely to own a smartphone.
  • Some 78% of adults aged 65 and older own a cellphone, while 98% of 18-29 year-olds own one.

The data suggests a clear connection between household income levels and the likelihood of owning a smartphone or having access to home broadband.

Higher-income households and younger demographics have a higher propensity to rely on smartphones for communication and internet access, as opposed to traditional landline phones.

Other Interesting Facts About Landline Phones

  • Traditional landline telephone networks have been in existence for 143 years.
  • 36% of surveyed households have both a mobile phone and a working landline.
  • In the US, landline usage frequency in 2017 stood at 33% of respondents claiming to use their landline phone several times per day.
  • Millennials have the highest percentage share of cellular phone service expenditures, at almost 93% of total telephone service spending.

These facts indicate that while landlines have demonstrated remarkable resilience over the years, their usage has notably decreased with the widespread adoption of mobile phones, particularly among the younger generation.


Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)