Pew report: 19% of Americans make video calls

Faith Merino · October 13, 2010 · Short URL:

The survey finds that more people are making video calls today than they were one year ago

A newly published study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project finds that video calls are up among American adults from a year ago.  According to the report, 19% of American adults have tried video calling either on their computer or cell phone, which translates into 23% of Internet users and 7% of cell phone owners.

The survey, which polled 3,001 American adults between August 9 and September 13, 2010, finds that video calling among Internet users has increased to 23%, up from 20% of Internet users in April 2009.  Additionally, on any given day, 4% of Internet users are holding video calls, up from 2% in April 2009.

“Video calling has become increasingly available as camcorders have spread through the online environment, cameras have been built into smart phones, and as video-chat services like Skype, Google Talk, and Apple iChat have become a feature of the online and smart phone environment,” the report reads.  “Teleconferencing is also becoming more embedded in the business environment.”

Internet users

The survey also provides a breakdown in video calling demographics among Internet users.  Unsurprisingly, younger Internet users are more likely to report having video-chatted than older users: 29% of Internet users aged 18-29 have video-called, compared to 15% of users aged 65 and older.  Internet users with higher incomes are also more likely to video-chat: 34% of individuals with an annual household income of $75,000 or more said that they have video-chatted, compared to 15% of those with household incomes under $30,000 a year. 

Video calling also seems to correspond directly to level of education, with college graduates more likely to say they’ve video-called than high school dropouts: 30% and 12% respectively.

Interestingly, the racial breakdown shows that more Hispanic Internet users have video-called than black or white users.  28% of Hispanic respondents said they’ve video-chatted, compared to 21% of both black and white respondents.

According to the report, 74% of American adults use the Internet, so these figures translate to big numbers.  Even more adults—85%—own cell phones, but fewer individuals reported video calling on their cell phones.  Just 7% of cell phone owners say they’ve used their cell phones to make video calls, but among those numbers are some interesting breakdowns. My guess is that this number will skyrocket in the coming months as mobile video calling apps like Tango and Yahoo Messenger take off like wildfire (as Tango has apparently already done).

Cell phone owners

Like Internet users, cell phone owners with higher incomes are more likely to make video calls: 10% of cell phone owners with annual household incomes over $75,000 say they’ve video-chatted, compared to 6% who earn less than $75,000.  And—also mirroring Web users—younger cell phone owners are more likely to video chat than older cell phone owners.  8% of respondents under 50 said they’ve video chatted compared to 4% of respondents over 50.

The racial breakdown takes a surprising turn.  While Hispanic Internet users are more likely than white or black Internet users to make video calls, black cell phone owners are more likely than other racial groups to make video calls on their phones (10% compared to 5% of white cell phone owners).

Interestingly (I think, anyway), among both Internet users and cell phone owners, men are more likely than women to make video calls (26% and 8% among male Internet users and cell phone owners, respectively, compared to 20% and 6% of female Internet users and cell phone owners).

Image source:

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

Founded in September 2009, Tango is a free mobile video calling service that connects family and friends wherever they are. Tango offers high-quality video calling for iOS and Android devices and works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. More than 10 million people in 190 countries are using Tango to communicate every day, stay connected, and share special moments as they happen. Download the Tango application for free in the App Store and Android Market. Tango is based in Palo Alto, California.