Abstract Differences between households with and without phones in the United States as a whole are well documented, but these differences, and their implications for nursing practice and research, have received little attention in nursing publications. This article 1) reviews findings from national studies of these differences and 2) reports on a nursing study that examined such differences specifically in a random sample (N= 2,053) of lowincome families having children eligible for but not using the well-child services of the Medicaid program in rural North Carolina. The study was part of a randomized trial of nursing interventions to encourage parents to use these services. The analyses reported herein focus on how families with and without phones differed in health-related characteristics and in responses to the interventions. The findings have relevance for public health nurses conducting outreach or research with similar low-income families, even when the outreach or research methods do not involve phone contact.