Chart of the Day: One-Third of Americans No Longer Have Decent Phone Service

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Via Nate Silver, who’s making a point about political polling, I came across the CDC’s latest estimate of the number of homes that rely solely on wireless phones. There’s no real surprise here, it’s just that I haven’t been paying attention to this for the past several years. So my vague memory is that about 20% of homes have no landline phones, but that number has continued to rise and is now just a bit under 40%. The chart below, with my own extrapolation to September 2012, shows the trend.

I’ve now owned a cell phone for 14 years, and I have yet to hold a conversation with either party on a cell phone that didn’t suck. The sound quality is bad, the delay is bad, the voice activation that continually cuts off tiny bits of conversation is bad, and the general level of background static is bad. And that’s on basically solid connections. When you’re on a weak connection, you might as well be talking on tin cans. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that young people, who have grown up with this, don’t like to talk on phones much. I hate talking to people on cell phones too.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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