Press release

A Hard Habit to Break: Northwest Residents Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Their Phones

Sponsored by Businesswire

The latest poll from PEMCO Mutual Insurance finds that in today’s screen-focused society, more than half of Northwest cellphone users admit to feeling like they spend too much time on their mobile devices. However, these same users also say they haven’t done anything to limit their screen time – and they don’t intend to, either.

Like most Americans, nearly all Northwest residents (98%) say they have at least one mobile telephone that they use daily. While about half (52%) believe they spend too much time scrolling, tapping and swiping, almost three out of four (70%) say they haven’t taken any steps to limit their mobile phone use.

What’s more, very few think their excessive screen time is a problem. More than half (56%) aren’t concerned about their phone use, while just 16% say they’re very or extremely concerned about the time they spend on their phone.

“Many of us can relate to this dilemma: We feel guilty for spending too much time digitally connected, yet we can’t seem to unplug,” said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. “But what surprised us the most about this poll is the overall acceptance among most Northwest residents about our phone fixations – we just seem to shrug it off.”

Younger people are especially prone to feel the pull of their 5G network. In Washington, those under 55 are six times more likely than their older counterparts to say they spend way too much time on their phones (26% vs. 4%). In Oregon, the generational divide is slightly less significant – 22% of younger respondents say they spend too much time on their phones, compared to 7% of older users.

Some might blame the rate of cellphone use on social media, but those surveyed say that’s not necessarily the case. Only 12% report that they use their phones primarily for social media. Instead, personal communication, like calls and text messages, takes first place with 71% citing it as the primary reason for using their phone.

When it comes to personal communication, men are more inclined than women to use their mobile device to talk on the phone. The PEMCO poll found that men, more so than women (30% vs. 21%), would prefer to talk to someone rather than texting them. And when faced with follow-up messages, more men than women (52% vs. 42%) would prefer their callers to leave voicemails rather than send a text.

“With so much of our lives connected by our phones, it’s no wonder we’re reluctant to put them down. Even though it can be difficult, it’s always a good idea to model our own healthy screen-time moderation for kids. And of course, phones should always be off limits while driving, cycling, walking and other distraction-prone activities to help ensure everyone’s safety,” Wing added.

For a complete summary of PEMCO’s poll results visit where you’ll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in January 2019.

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. To learn more, visit