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U.S. Phones Were Hit by More Than 50 Billion Robocalls in 2021

Americans received 50.5 billion robocalls in 2021, a 14% lower volume than the peak year of 2019, with over 58 billion robocalls, but approximately 10% higher than 2020, with 45.9 billion robocalls.

Annual Nationwide Robocall Volume
Annual Nationwide Robocall Volume
Annual Nationwide Robocall Volume

In December 2021, Americans received just under 3.6 billion robocalls, a 13% decline from November, and the fewest calls for any month since June 2020. In December, robocalls averaged 115.1 calls/day and 1,332 calls/second versus November, in which robocalls averaged 137.4 million calls/day and 1,590 calls/second, down 16% on a daily basis. This decline was driven by a big drop in the last few weeks of the month, as the robocallers appeared to have taken time off for the holiday season. 

YouMail, a free robocall blocking app determined the numbers by extrapolating from the robocall traffic attempting to get through to their millions of active users.

“The good news is that monthly robocalls continue to be on a lower plateau since the STIR/SHAKEN rollout on June 30th,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “The bad news is that total robocalls still exceeded 50 billion for the year, which is roughly 200 robocalls this year for every adult with a phone.”

Spam and Scam Calls Continue as A Large Percentage of Calls

In December, the number of scam calls decreased by 4%, while telemarketing calls decreased 18%, payment reminders decreased 18%, and alerts and reminders decreased 11%. While all types of calls decreased over the holidays, scam calls decreased the least, as it appears that scam robocallers took little time off.

Type ofRobocallEstimated DecemberRobocallsPercentage December
Scams1.3 billion (-4%)37% (+4%)
Alerts and Reminders1.1 billion (-11%)30% (+2%) 
Payment Reminders0.58 billion (-18%)16% (=2%)
Telemarketing0.62 billion (-18%)17% (-4%)

Overall for the year, the scam category topped the list with almost 30 billion scam or spam calls, or just under 60% of all calls, a very substantial number of likely unwanted calls.

Type ofRobocallEstimated 2021RobocallsPercentage 2021
Scams21.4 billion42%
Alerts and Reminders13.1 billion26%
Payment Reminders7.4 billion15%
Telemarketing8.6 billion17%

“Winners” in December 2021

In December, the same cities, area codes, and states that have had the most robocalls in recent months continued to do, though the numbers of calls were significantly lower than in past months.   

Cities with the Most Robocalls:Atlanta, GA (143.7 million, -10%)Dallas, TX (130.6 million, -10%)Chicago, IL (112.6 million, -12%)
Cities with the Most Robocalls/Person:Baton Rouge, LA (30.1/person, -10%)Memphis, TN (28.5/person, -11%)Washington, DC (26.6/person, -11%)
Area Codes with the Most Robocalls:404 in Atlanta, GA (60.9 million, -10%)214 in Dallas, TX (49.3 million, -10%)832 in Houston, TX (47.7 million, -14%)
Area Codes with the Most Robocalls/Person:404 in Atlanta, GA (49.8/person, -10%)225 in Baton Rouge, LA (30.1/person, -10%)901 in Memphis, TN (28.5/person, -11%)
State with the Most Robocalls:Texas (422.4 million, -15%)California (332.1 million, -9%)Florida (279.6m, -14%)
State with the Most Robocalls/Person:South Carolina (20.5/person, -15%)Tennessee (20.2/person, -15%)Louisiana (20.2/person, -11%)
provided by YouMail

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Duncan Idaho

Duncan is a science and technology reporter for CDN and serves as the lead geek correspondent. Follow him if you like rockets, mobile tech, video games or ... just about anything nerdy.

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