Americans Still Want Human Contact—Even Though the Smartphones Are Calling

November 20, 2018, 3:24 PM UTC

Americans might love their smartphones, but human interaction is still what they crave most.

In a survey of more than 1,800 Americans conducted in early November, SurveyMonkey found that 42% of American adults still prefer in-person communication over any other form. It was followed by 21% of people who said they prefer texting and 16% of Americans who’d rather have a phone call. Just 2% of people like to communicate over social media and 1% prefer a video chat.

The survey, which was conducted for Axios on HBO, shows similar results for different age groups. Forty-four percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34, for instance, prefer in-person communication, compared to 40% for people between the ages of 35 and 64. People aged 65 and older are most likely to prefer in-person communication, with 45% of then saying it’s their favored way to communicate.

Texting, however, skews younger, with 28% of people between 18 and 34 preferring that form of communication, compared to 20% and 13% for 35-64 and 65-and-older, respectively.

Interestingly, communicating on social media was most popular in the oldest demographic and least popular among those aged 35 to 64. Email was also more popular among older people than younger people.

Still, things might change over time. According to Axios, a separate Common Sense Media survey of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17, just 32% of them prefer in-person communication, down from 49% in 2012.