Almost a fifth of US households cut the cord

Nearly 18% of households in the US haven't got a fixed line phone and rely on mobile only, up several percentage points from a year earlier, the government said on Wednesday.

In the first half of 2008, 17.5% of households were wireless only, up from 13.6% a full year earlier, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters  reports.

The statistics have a margin of error of plus or minus 0.9% point, according to the agency, which collected the data as part of project to determine if national health polls were being skewed by the trend.

Qwest recently commented that the trend was exacerbated by the weak economy as some customers were disconnecting home phones to save money.

The percentage of households with a landline and a wireless phone declined slightly in the first half of 2008, at about 58.5%, compared with 58.9% a year earlier.

The figures come from national in-person interviews of approximately 30,000 households per year with at least one adult or child.