Americans Prefer Text Messaging

According to the Pew Research Center nearly three-quarters (73%) of American cell phone owners are texting, and nearly a third (31%) prefer texting to talking. That roughly matches recent data from comScore showing 70% of U.S. mobile subscribers use text message.

Young people are the most avid practitioners, with those between 18 and 24 exchanging an average of 109.5 messages on a typical day. That works out to more than 3,200 texts per month — and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1,500 messages per month).

To put that in perspective, the average of 109.5 texts per day among 18- to-24-year-olds is more than double the comparable figure for 25-to-34-year-olds, and 23 times that for those 65 or older.

While texting remains the most pervasive non-voice mobile activity, the Pew study finds that among adults as a whole, usage is leveling off. Text messaging users trade an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily. Both figures are virtually unchanged from 2010. Similarly, cell owners make or receive an average of 12 calls on their cells per day, the same as last year.

“Interoperability has a lot to do with it–anyone with a phone can text anyone else without worrying whether or not the person they are trying to reach is on the same service–as does the fact that you can text from pretty much any type of cell phone,” noted Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist with Pew’s Internet & American Life Project. “After all, fewer than half of cell owners have smartphones, but even people on more basic phones can text-even if they don’t have access to some other tools you mentioned.”

Pew Research Center

Comscore’s list of top mobile phone activities from earlier this year

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