Remember the days when the phone rang, and everyone in the household rushed to answer the call? Or those days when you got home and asked, “any calls?” Today more than half of adults in the U.S. live in wireless-only households, according to a report released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in September of 2020. The National Center for Health Statistics publishes estimates of phone coverage for the U.S. population twice a year. The estimates are based on about 40,000 (annual) in-person interviews with individuals in landline households, wireless-only households, and households with no phone service at all.

The latest 2019 study found that 61.3% of adults (nearly 154 million) and 70.3% of children (51 million) lived in wireless-only households. For comparison, in 2003, only 3% of households were wireless-only.

Older adults are least likely to live in wireless-only households.

This poses a challenge to telephone survey research—which was at one time the gold standard for consumer research. Today, we need to be mindful, creative, and resourceful when conducting consumer research. We must also account for the potential for bias occurring due to the data collection methodology. One solution might be mixed-modal data collection using a combination of telephone, mail, and internet options. But, the best solution is always one that reflects the research objectives, characteristics of the population to be sampled, and the type of data that will be collected. GLM customizes each plan so that sample bias is reduced and the validity of the data is protected. 

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