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Two-thirds of cell phone owners go online with their smartphone

People are getting on social networks, e-mailing, and surfing the Web from their mobile phones at an increasing rate.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Pew Research Center

As smartphones become more widespread, so does Internet use on cell phones.

According to a new report from Pew Research Center, 63 percent of US adult mobile phone owners use their devices to go online, which is double the amount of cell Internet usage since 2009. And not only are more people surfing the Web and checking e-mail from their phones, but 21 percent of adult cell owners use their smartphone more than a computer to go online.

"A majority of the public now owns a smartphone, and mobile devices are playing an increasingly central role in the way that Americans access online services and information," Pew Research Center's Internet Project senior researcher Aaron Smith said in a statement. "For many, such as younger adults or lower-income Americans, cell phones are often a primary device for accessing online content -- a development that has particular relevance to companies and organizations seeking to reach these groups."

Pew estimates that 91 percent of people in the US own cell phones. In 2012, 55 percent of cell owners used their phones to go online and in 2009 only 31 percent did. Now, it appears that the majority of the country goes online with smartphones.

The groups that most access the Internet with their phones include young adults ages 18 to 29 (85 percent), African-Americans (74 percent), college-educated (74 percent, financially well-off (79 percent), and urban residents (66 percent).

While older adults are the least likely to go online with their phones, more people in this age group are now starting to use the Internet from their smartphone.

"Cell owners between the ages of 50 and 64 experienced a larger-than-average 15 percentage point increase in the past year," the Pew report reads. "Some 51 percent of cell owners ages 50-64 now use their phone to go online, up from 36 percent who did so in the spring of 2012."

To get its data, Pew surveyed more than 2,250 adults in April and May of this year.