Sample and Hold: Generations and Their Gadgets

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According to, many devices have become popular across generations, with a majority now owning cell phones, laptops and desktop computers. Younger adults are leading the way in increased mobility, preferring laptops to desktops and using cell phones for a variety of functions, including Internet, e-mail, music, games and video. Cell phones are by far the most popular device and taking pictures (76 percent) and text messaging (72 percent) are two non-voice functions widely popular. Millennials are the only generation more likely to own a laptop or netbook as opposed to a desktop computer. Also more popular with Millennials are MP3 players. While 74 percent of adults age 18-34 own an MP3 player, only 56 percent of 35-46-year-olds own them. And while tablet computers (such as the iPad) are most popular with adults under age 65, only 4 percent of all adults own this device.

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*In this chart, the dips in tech ownership registered in the September 2010 survey are mostly a result of the fact that Spanish interviews were added to the survey. Most of the Pew Internet surveys before 2010 were only conducted in English. The Project has added Spanish to this survey and that knocked down the overall tech-ownership numbers in some instances because respondents who wanted to be interviewed in Spanish were somewhat less likely than others to be tech non-users.

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