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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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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