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Idaho Tops Nation In Portion Of People Cutting Their Landline

New federal data show Idaho leads the country in something you might expect more from Seattle, Portland or Silicon Valley.

The state has the highest portion of adults who have switched over entirely to cellphone.As of 2012, more than half of Idahoans no longer hear a dial tone before they make a call. That's according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, Idaho is the only state where a majority of households have ditched their landline.

That might be surprising, coming from this mountainous, rural state. But Mike Field of the Idaho boardband initiative LINKIdaho, suspects it has nothing to do with making calls.

He says it's about Idaho's notoriously sparse broadband connections.

“And so I really think it's the fact that people want the Internet, they need the Internet for their jobs, for education and the easiest way to get connected to the Internet is to get a smartphone.”

In Washington, 39 percent of adults live in cellphone-only households. In Oregon, it's 37 percent.

The federal numbers show the west and the south generally have the highest rates of people using only a cellphone, while people in the northeast hang onto their landline in higher rates.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis, Hispanics, the young, and the poor are among the likeliest to be reachable only on their mobile.

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.