Texting by American adults has increased substantially over the past year according to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

In a survey of over 2,200 adults conducted in May, some 72% of adult cell phone users now send and receive text messages now, up from 65% in September 2009.

Among adults who text, the average user sends and receives 10 texts a day, up from an average of 5 texts a day just 8 months earlier in September 2009. Breaking it down by number of texts, half (51%) of adult texters send between 1 and 10 texts a day. Another 25% of adults send 11 to 50 texts a day, and 10% send between 50 and 200 texts a day. Just 4% of adults send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month.

While up significantly, the number of adults texting and the quantity of texts sent is still much lower than teens. Pew’s research finds that 87% of teen cell users now text. On average the teens send and receive 50 messages a day, five times more than the ten text messages sent and received by adults per day.

For most adults, voice calling is their primary use of the phone. They make and receive about 5 calls per day on average.
Read the 42 page report here (.pdf)
Cell phones are now owned by more than four in five American adults (82%). Cell phone ownership is up from 65% of American adults in November 2004, but has remained steady since 2009.

Other findings of the report include:
  • Heavy users of cell phones for texting are heavy users of the phone for calling as well. Light texters are generally light callers and vice versa.
  • 65% of American adults with cell phones sleep with their phone on or right next to their bed
  • 57% of adults with cells report receiving unwanted or spam text messages on their phone.
  • 90% of parents have a cell phone compared with 72% of adults without children under 18 at home.
For all of their enthusiasm for texting and talking on their cells, Americans have mixed feelings about the role of the mobile phone in their lives. Most cell users report that their cell phone makes them feel safer (91%), and that they appreciate the way it allows them to arrange plans with family and friends (88% agree.) But mobile phone users also report that they get irritated when a call or text interrupts them (42%) and that they find it rude when others check their phones repeatedly during meetings or conversations (86%).

Discuss in Digital Home's Wireless Phone forum .