How many smart phones in Iowa?
August 18, 2009 3:00 PM   Subscribe

How many smart phones are there in Iowa? Seems a simple question, but I haven't found a source that even offers a good guess. My google-fu fails me. Help Me, Hivemind!
posted by davereed to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Iowa's population is 3,002,555 as of July 2008.

20% of Americans use smartphones.

So, approximately 600,511 Iowans are using smartphones.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2009

That's misleading. You have to go by per capita income. Maybe 75% of the people in high income areas like NYC, SF etc use smart phones, where people in some of these flyover states it's 10% or maybe less.
posted by Zambrano at 4:15 PM on August 18, 2009

So a $4000 difference in per capita incomes between New York and Iowa translates into a 65% difference in smartphone use? How do you figure, especially considering that New York's poverty rate is higher? Where does that info come from?

Clearly, using just the nationwide rate does not take into account important differences between the national population and Iowa's population (like income, occupation, education, culture, etc.). But let's offer the OP some real sources instead of just pulling things out of our asses.

(Uh, well, no... as a matter of fact, I don't have any such sources...)
posted by McBearclaw at 4:42 PM on August 18, 2009

If there is indeed a $4000 difference in per capita incomes between New York and Iowa, I'd be banking on more Iowans having smart phones than New York, since the cost of living in Iowa is a spot less.

I think the first poster probably comes closest to getting it right. I'm not sure if there is a way to get something like this broken down by state. I know the retail outlets selling iPhones sold out (and Iowa was often red on the Apple map while they still had phones in other states).

Maybe it's bad form to wonder why you want to know this info, but really, from the perspective of an Iowan I can pretty much promise you the majority of people in this state are going to be like anywhere else. Farming is less than 5% of the jobs in Iowa, and even farmers have some pretty high tech gadgets.

Any evidence I have would be anecdotal, but I see relatively the same percentage of people with these in Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, or Des Moines, but then I don't get out of the Midwest very often. Things might be different in the rest of the country.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:57 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Iowa and NY are really not all that different if you think about it. Most of each state's population is located in a few spots of urban areas, albeit on drastically different orders of magnitude. The same holds true for the distribution of household income within each state. Both states have relatively large geographic areas of considerably less dense population and correspondingly lower income. In light of these similarities, I'm going to guess that, on average, smartphone ownership percentages are not that much different statewide in Iowa compared to the rest of the country. See also this re. college student smartphone usage in Muncie, Indiana. The average seems to float around that 20-ish percentage.

Now What Cheer, Iowa, (population 678; Salute!) compared to New York City smartphone ownership, perhaps quite different. :)

* Note: Not sure where WolframAlpha's coming up with a $4,000 per capita income differential. U.S. Census Bureau shows it to be more like $12,000.
posted by webhund at 7:40 PM on August 18, 2009

Yeah, sorry for the Wolfram Alpha ref. Lazy lazy citing. Median household income would likely be the more appropriate measure, anyway.
posted by McBearclaw at 8:06 PM on August 18, 2009

So, let's look at the entities who might have the numbers you're looking for.

Manufacturers (Apple, RIM, Motorola (?), and Nokia) ought to be able to correlate sales numbers with physical address. Are any of them willing to share the state breakdown publicly? I don't see why not, but I don't know.

Same with providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint), but in my experience they tend to be control freaks when it comes to anything that might affect their bottom line, like public knowledge of sales figures. But I don't know--it's worth checking.

An interesting possibility is websites, like Google, Amazon, EBay, Yahoo, Bing (cough). I don't know if any of them offer state-by-state breakdowns of phone users. It ought to be in their capabilities, especially Google, since they should be able to correlate phone user agents with IP addresses and/or repeater location, and correlate those things with location. But I don't know if it's in their interest to share those things, or even gather the relevant data.

The only concrete information I can offer is the AdMob mobile metrics report--June version here (PDF). Unfortunately they only offer breakdowns of devices in the U.S. as a whole. However, if you could get the sales (or usage) number for one type of device within Iowa, you could then use it, and the AdMob breakdown, to get a reasonable approximation of the whole number.

Good luck! MeMail me if you get anywhere!
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:11 PM on August 18, 2009

I don't think Iowa is that far off the norm. My experience this year in Wisconsin was that I was suspected of catnapping by a neighbor (how many bajillion blonde tabbies are there in the world, anyway?) and he questioned me while recording me with an iPhone. The guy is a standard-issue redneck living on disability.

On the other hand, there don't seem to be more than about 10 twitter users around these here parts.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on August 18, 2009

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