Idaho Tops Nation In Portion Of People Cutting Their Landline

By Jessica Robinson

New federal data show Idaho leads the country in something you might expect more from Seattle, Portland or Silicon Valley. The state has the highest portion of adults who have switched over entirely to cellphone.

As of 2012, more than half of Idahoans no longer hear this sound before they make a call. That's according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, Idaho is the only state where a majority of households have ditched their landline.

That might be surprising, coming from this mountainous, rural state. But Mike Field of the Idaho boardband initiative LINKIdaho, suspects it nothing has to do with making calls. It's about Idaho's notoriously sparse broadband connections.

Mike Field: “And so I really think it's the fact that people want the Internet, they need the Internet for their jobs, for education and the easiest way to get connected to the Internet is to get a smartphone.”

In Washington, 39 percent of adults live in cellphone-only households. In Oregon, it's 37 percent.

The federal numbers show the West and the South generally have the highest rates of people using only a cellphone, while people in the Northeast hang onto their landline in higher rates. According to a Pew Research Center analysis Hispanics, the young, and the poor are among the likeliest to be reachable only on their mobile.

CDC report "Wireless Substitution"

Pew Research Center

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