Pew: Smartphone Ownership Up 11% Since May 2011

New research study shows almost half of American adults now own the mobile devices

Smartphone ownership in the U.S. has increased by 11% in just the last nine months (since last May), says a new Pew Research study, with almost half of American adults (46%) now owning the handheld computers.

It is that growth in demand for mobile computing and Internet access that is driving the FCC's wireless broadband initiatives, including creating a mobile broadband element to its revamped Universal Service Fund, seeking broadcast and government spectrum for wireless use and lowering build-out barriers like pole attachment fees and rights-of-way impediments.

According to the study, more than 60% of college graduates, those 18-35, and those with an annual household income of more than $75,000 have the devices. Slower on the uptake are seniors with only 13%.

Android devices and iPhones are in a statistical dead heat for bragging rights at 20% and 19%, respectively. Android phones increased from 15%, while iPhone's percentage had almost doubled from 10%. Blackberries are going in the other direction at only 6%, down from 10% in May 2011.

Hispanic and Black populations continue to be higher users of mobile devices than the general population, and their growth continues in lockstep. Smartphone ownership for both Blacks and Hispanics was 49% in February, up from 44% in May.

The biggest percentage jump has been among those 18-24, increasing from 49% in May to 67% in as of February. The 25-34 demo has the highest percentage at 71%, up from 58% in May.

The survey was based on a Jan. 20-Feb. 19 phone poll of 2,253 adults (18-plus). The margin of error was plus or minus 2.3 points to a 95%.