Smartphone users now outnumber users of more basic mobile phones within the national adult population, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off—experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year, and blacks and Latinos are leading the way.
African-Americans and Latinos overall adoption of smartphone rates in 2011 was higher than the national average: smartphone penetration is 49% in each case, just higher than the national average of 46%.
Usage of smartphones as a primary internet access device is highest among several groups with relatively low rates of traditional internet and broadband adoption—for example, those with no college experience as well as those with relatively low income levels, according to a Pew report published last year.
“The reason for that, many say, is simple: It’s the most affordable way to get onto the information superhighway,” Jamilah King wrote in a story published on Colorlines.com last year. A couple hundred dollars for an Android and a data plan is much less than $1,000 for a laptop computer and broadband connection.