Mississippians hanging up their landline phones

By Mike McDaniel - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippians are hearing less traditional ring tones and more digital ones.

"More and more Americans are turning to their wireless phone as their only source of communication," said Senior Scientist Stephen Blumberg with the National Center for Health Statistics.

A new report out from the NCHS shows a national increase in the number of folks hanging up on landline phones and reaching instead for a cell phone. Mississippi is one of a few states growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the country with a larger than average increase over the past three years.

From July of 2009 to June 2010 just more than 35 percent of adults were living in wireless only households, in 2007 that number was about 21 percent. For kids it was almost 42 percent compared to almost 21 percent in 2007.

"A substantial increase, " said Blumberg who conducts health surveys by phone and says he's not surprised by the trend to go wireless, but is concerned about how it will affect health information and statistics.

"Without binging in a large portion of people on their cell phones, we simply can't trust the estimates that we get from our surveys," said Blumberg.

To help bring in better results Blumberg says mail surveys are seeing an increase but the problem is many folks throw them away and while face to face surveys would be idea, they're too expensive.

So, when a cell phone is randomly dialed folks like Blumberg cross their fingers.

"I know most people don't expect to receive survey calls on their cell phones, so certainly convincing them to participate has been more difficult," said Blumberg.

The report was first put out in 2003 and since then the number of folks going wireless have only gone up and Blumberg sees no sign of slowing down, laving the rest of the plugged in world playing catch up.