The Center’s Future of Transportation Project explores the relationship between the number of cars Americans have at their homes, their income, and their type of community
Cars function as many-faceted symbols. Among the things they represent are wealth and status. With this in mind, one interesting variable to consider in exploring the number of cars at a residence is household income.
Of Americans who have a car available, how many cars do they have at their permanent residence? The Center’s Future of Transportation Project (highlights to be published September 20) found:
- Overall, 38% have one car and 41% have two.
- Twenty percent have three or more cars at home: 14% report three cars, and 6% have four or more autos.
- Of those with yearly household incomes of less than $75,000, 46% have one car, while only 15% of those from households with yearly incomes of $75,000 or more have just one automobile.
- Thirty-eight percent of those with household incomes of less than $75,000 have two autos, compared with 50% of those from households with incomes of $75,000 or more.
- Nine percent of the sub-$75,000 household respondents have three cars, versus 25% of the $75,000 or more household people.
What about residences with four or more cars? Here again the richer households win the numbers game.
- Nine percent of those from households with $75,000 or more yearly income have four or more autos, compared to just 6% for the less than $75,000 yearly household income respondents.
- Another variable to consider that relates to the number of cars at a residence is living area — that is, urban vs. suburban vs. rural.
- In urban areas, 44% of those with a car available say that they have one car at their permanent residence. This compares with 37% in suburban areas and 30% in rural areas.
- For two cars, the figures are 43% for those in suburbia (living immediately outside a city or town), 42% of those living in the country, and 39% of those in the city.
- For three cars, 19% of those in the rural areas say they have that many, compared to 14% in the suburbs and 10% in the cities.
Lastly, what about those residences with four or more cars?
- Six percent of those living in cities, 7% of those living in the suburbs, and 10% of those in the country report having that many cars at their permanent residence.
What might explain these differences? People living in less crowded areas might have more need for more cars, and they also have more space to keep them.
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September 12, 2017