72 Percent of Adults Now Send Text Messages

By: Chloe Albanesius, Daniel Levine


Texting among adults is on the rise, with more than 72 percent of those over 18 using the technology, but their usage still pales in comparison to texting among teenagers, who send an average of five times as many texts as their adult counterparts, according to a Thursday report.

Of the 2,252 people surveyed by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, about 72 percent of adults said they sent text messages in May 2010, compared to 65 percent of people surveyed in September 2009.

Adult texters are sending an average of 10 texts per day, while those ages 12 to 17 are sending about 50 texts per day. There are some prolific adult texters – about 5 percent of adults send 200 texts per day or more; about 15 percent of teens do the same.

Gender is not a major factor when it comes to texting; men and women send and receive the same number of texts on a daily basis.

The report also found that if you text often, it’s likely that you also make a lot of voice calls. But if you’re a light texter, you do not make up for the lack of communication with phone calls – small number of texts also translated into a small number of calls. On average, adults will make and receive about five calls per day.

About 91 percent of adults agreed that they feel safer with a cell phone, and another 88 percent were grateful that it kept them connected to friends and family. Still, about 42 percent of people said they were annoyed when a call or text interrupted them.

Some people admitted to being quite attached to their phones; about 65 percent of people sleep with their phone in the bed or right next to the bed. Not surprisingly these people, dubbed “phone sleepers” by Pew, are more likely to feel positively about their phones.

Broken down by race, Pew found that African Americans and Hispanics are “more intense and frequent” users of a phone’s capabilities than whites.

Parents with children under 18 in the home are also more likely to own a phone than those without kids, Pew said.

Pew also found that spam-based texts are on the rise; 57 percent of people reported receiving unwanted or spam texts.

Overall, about 82 percent of people now own a cell phone, Pew said. “Just as many adults have a cell phone as have a computer,” the report said.