Three-quarters of American adults with cellphones send and receive texts, but more than half of them prefer voice calls instead. Although that changes if someone texts a lot.
Those findings are from a new Pew Research Center survey of cellphone user habits, based on a spring 2011 nationally representative phone survey of 2,277 adults ages 18 and older by Pew's Internet & American Life Project. The survey found that 83% of American adults own cellphones, and 73% do texting.
The survey asked more details of the texters, and found that 31% prefer texting to voice calls, but 53% prefer talking to someone. For 14%, the preferred contact method depends on the situation.
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The more you text, the more likely you are to prefer text. Fully 55% of texters who exchange more than 50 messages a day prefer text to a call.
The full report is viewable or downloadable online.
Not surprisingly, texting preferences skew toward the young, who are the "most avid texters by a wide margin," according to Pew. Cellphone owners ages 18-24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages every day, or 3,200 per month on average. The median texter in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day.
Some are very heavy users. According to the survey, 23% of the 18- to 24-year-old texters say they are sending and receiving more than 100 texts per day; 12% of this group say that they send or receive more than 200 messages daily (or 6,000 or more messages monthly).
But texting use overall seems to have leveled off. For the adult population as a whole, texters send or receive an average of 41.5 messages daily, and the median texter's average is 10 daily. That's "largely unchanged" from 2010 levels, and so are the voice calls, which average 12 a day for this overall group of adults, according to the Pew authors. In 2009, the average for daily texts was 30.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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