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Pew: Smartphone Ownership Tips Past Half at 56 Percent

WASHINGTON —Smartphone owners in the United States are now the majority, according to a market update from Pew Research Center in D.C. The firm said that for the first time since it started tracking device ownership, smartphones now dominate, with 56 percent of Americans owning them.

Conversely, dumbphone owners are shrinking. Around 35 percent of cellphone owners have non-smartphones, compared to 41 percent a year ago, and 48 percent in May of 2011. Holdouts who don’t bother with a mobile phone are also diminishing—17 percent of Americans had no cellphones whatsoever in May of 2011. That was down to 9 percent for the May, 2013 survey.

Demographically, smartphone owners do not surprise. They skew young and rich, though fogeys are catching on. Pew said “a majority of Americans in their mid-forties through mid-fifties are now smartphone adopters.”

Pew said that while smartphone ownership grew in every major demo, the 65-plus set still has the lowest rate of adoption. Just 18 percent of seniors 65-plus own smartphones, compared to 79 percent of folks 18-24; 81 percent of those 25-34; 69 percent of folks 35-44; 55 percent of folks 45-54; and 39 percent of the 55-64 set.

Genderwise, men dominated with 59 percent smartphone ownership versus 53 percent for women. College graduates were more likely to own smartphones than non-graduates, and ownership rates rose with escalating income levels: 43 percent of households bringing in less than $30,000 a year owned smartphones, while 78 percent of those making $75,000 or more had them. Ownership was higher in metropolitan versus rural areas.

Android ruled the platform department. Android drives 28 percent of smartphones compared to 20 percent last year. iOS is at 25 percent, up from 19 percent. Blackberrys are down from 6 to 4 percent, and Windows is at 1 percent, down from 2 percent a year ago.

Pew surveyed 2,252 adults 18 and older from April 17 to May 19, 2013.