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“Dad, what’s a landline?”

AP Photo
How we used to make plans.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

More of the youngest Americans are already leading completely wireless lives, a fact underscored by a release of federal data on the share of houses without landlines.

According to data collected from more than 19,000 households as part of the US government’s National Health Interview Surveys, some 48.3% of US households had only wireless phones during the second half of 2015. That’s an increase of 2.9 percentage points from 2014. Back in the second half of 2011, just 34% of households were without a landline.

Approximately 116 million American adults lived in those landline-less households, or roughly 47.7%. What’s more, roughly 42 million children—or 57.7%—live in households without landlines.

This trend has been unfolding for a while now. But that doesn’t make it any less consequential for telecom and tech giants such as Apple, Verizon, and AT&T, for the workers they employ, and for pollsters and researchers trying to find a better way to collect facts aside from traditional telephone surveys.

Also affected: parents, who are increasingly likely to find themselves explaining to their kids what life was like when most houses had just one phone line, and the phone was attached to the wall.

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