About three quarters of U.S. teens (77%) now have a cell phone. This number is, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, up slightly from September 2009 (75%). Looking back to 2004, though, it’s clear how this number has increased dramatically over the last few years. In late 2004, only 45% of teens had cell phones. The interesting trend here, though, is that 80% of older teens (14-17) now own mobile phones (and 31% of these older teens own smartphones), but that the number of younger teens with cell phones has actually dropped a bit (57% vs. 66%).
Unsurprisingly, teens from households with a higher income are more likely to own cell phones and while 83% of suburban kids now own a mobile phone, only 69% of kids in urban areas and 73% in rural areas own one.
The Pew study did not find a statistically relevant difference between boys and girls when it comes to cell phone ownership, but when it comes to texting, girls are still far heavier users than boys. The median number of texts per girl in this study was closer to 90, while boys only send about 50 (the mean numbers, it’s worth noting, are far higher and also far closer to each other: 165 for girls and 168 for boys). Unsurprisingly, those teens who send the most texts are also more likely to own a smartphone.
As for old-fashioned voice calls, teens – just like the rest of us – are slowly making fewer calls and most teens report that they mostly use text messages to socialize with the people in their lives: