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Where the cell-phone-only users are

Political pollsters and market researchers have been bedeviled by the growing number of cell-phone-only users in recent years. The big reason: they can’t find their landline-less quarry through “random digit dialing,” which is illegal for cell phones.

That’s great if you own one, but means researchers have to work harder (and spend more dough) to include those who have “cut the cord.” And they can’t ignore this population, which by the end of 2008 made up 18.7 percent of adults — up from 6.7 percent in 2005.

Among those grappling with the situation is Arbitron, which does the radio ratings and Personal People Meters I wrote about yesterday.

Battered by accusations that poor cell phone samples undercount minorities, Arbitron refined their sampling procedures earlier this year. Today, claiming to be “the first market researcher to track market-level cell-phone-only penetration,” Arbitron released an interesting graphic on where the “hot zones” are:

(Click on the link for a larger image.)

As you can see, a pinkish Minneapolis-St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth and (I think) Mankato are in the 16-20 percent range … roughly national average.

Where it gets cell-crazy is near the North Dakota border: Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks — both at 25 percent-plus, the top range among the 151 markets surveyed.

According to Arbitron, the top cell-only market is Bryan-College Station, Texas (38 percent), which reflects a high percentage of college students. College Station is home to Texas A&M.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Matt Linngren on 07/16/2009 - 12:36 pm.

    and you don’t see the same connection between Bryan-College Station and Fargo/Moorhead/GF… college students! to them land lines are dinosaurs…

  2. Submitted by none none on 07/16/2009 - 01:37 pm.

    Our household went mobile only and it has been a fairly painless transition.

    We concluded that more than half the calls we received were solicitations and that the other half were frequently family.

    With Email, IM, Phone Texting and Facebook, we asked ourselves was it really necessary to have a landline.

    Not for us.

  3. Submitted by Michael Fraase on 07/16/2009 - 02:38 pm.

    And some of us, on the other hand, are rethinking the necessity of mobile phones.

    Qwest is getting out of the business and none of the other providers can match our grandfathered deals.

    Secondary advantage is that I like being unreachable sometimes.

  4. Submitted by Hudson Leighton on 07/16/2009 - 04:22 pm.

    And St. Louis County skews the data again, how much of central and northern St. Louis County has reliable cellphone service?

  5. Submitted by Matt Linngren on 07/16/2009 - 05:38 pm.

    “Secondary advantage is that I like being unreachable sometimes.”

    I’m always unreachable on my mobile (when I want to be) – I just don’t answer it or better yet, turn it off!

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