How Much Do You Text?

by Jessica Bryson

An estimated “7 trillion text messages are going to be sent in 2011 from 4.8 billion mobile phones” according to ABI Research. With so many text messages flying around out there, you might be wondering just who is sending all these messages?  In the U.S., PEW Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project reports that “83% of American adults own cell phones and three quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages.”

Recently, PEW published their findings regarding how Americans use text messaging. They reported their data filtered by the following categories: gender, age, race/ethnicity, household income, and education level. In addition, they also compared text messaging patterns to voice call patterns using these same categories. As one might guess, PEW found that “[c]alling and texting are highly correlated, with cell owners who text often also making a large number of voice calls, and vice versa.” Furthermore, those who are active text users tend to prefer the same method when being contacted by others.

FlowingData summarized PEW’s findings into an easy-to-read chart that compares text messages sent/received per day and calls per day.  They used the median data set as “[t]he report refers to a lot of averages across demographics, but it seems that there were a lot of heavy texters driving up those averages. The medians are a lot lower.”

FlowingData's Summary of PEW's Findings

FlowingData's Summary of PEW's Findings

While some of these findings seem pretty predictable, such as young Americans (18-24) having the highest text usage, I was also surprised by some of their findings:

  • Gender - While women text more than men, men make more calls per day (although not by much)
  • Race - Those identified as “White” only text half as much as those identified as “Black” or “Hispanic”
  • Income and Education - Those who have lower incomes and lower levels of education text more, with numbers decreasing as income and education level rises.

What do you think about these results?  Do you think they are reflective of your texting behaviors?

View the full reports and other interesting U.S. and global statistics below:


PEW’s full report (download)
FlowingData summary report
ABI research cited by Business Insider

Other U.S. Statistics:

Pew Research Center Publications - Teens, Cells Phones and Texting
Mashable - The Average Teenager Sends 3,339 Texts Per Month
Nielsenwire - African-Americans, Women and Southerners Talk and Text The Most in the U.S.

Global Statistics:

Mashable - The Rise of Text Messaging
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - The World in 2010: Facts and Figures
mobiThinking - Global mobile statistics 2011

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