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Adults Texting More, but Teens Still Rule

September 9, 2010

Texting among US adults has increased substantially over the past year, but still does not approach the magnitude of texting activity among teens: 72% of adult cell-phone owners send and receive text messages now, up from the 65% who did so in September 2009, whereas 87% of teen cell-phone owners exchange text messages on a typical day, according to a study by Pew Research.

Moreover, teens exchange 5 times more texts messages than adults: Surveyed teen cell-phone owners age 12-17 send and receive 50 messages per day on average, compared with adult cell-phone owners age 18+ who send and receive 10 messages a day.

Breaking down texting by message volume, 51% of adult texters send from 1 to 10 texts a day, whereas just 22% of teens send that many messages daily.

Just 15% of adult texters send 51+ text messages daily, compared with 47% of teen texters who do so.

Below, other findings from the study Cell Phones and American Adults, issued by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism, which explores texting and calling behavior among adult and teen cell-phone owners.

Adults: Heavy Texters Are Heavy Callers

Heavy texters—adults who send and receive more than 50 texts day—also tend to be heavy users of voice calling: 40% make over 20 calls a day. Light texters, those who exchange 1 to 10 texts a day, do not make up for less texting by calling more: 46% make fewer than six calls per day.

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