Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey.
Percentage of Households by Number of Vehicles, 1977-2009
There are two important trends in car ownership in the United States which can be extrapolated to other highly motorized societies:
  • Reduction in the number of households without cars. The number of households without cars declined by about a half, from 20% in 1969 to 9% in 2009.
  • Increase in multi-vehicle households. The number of households with two or more cars has increased substantially, from 31% in 1969 to 59% in 2009.
An important factor behind these trends is the rising standards of living and the growing participation of women in the labor force, which often requires the ownership of a second vehicle for an household. Still, since 2001 a new trend appears to by emerging with a stabilization in the distribution of vehicle ownership, underlining a mature market. It can even be expected that in the coming years the share of households without a vehicle or with more than one vehicle will decline. This is linked with the aging of the population, little changes in income for most households and attitude changes about vehicle ownership. Peak mobility may become a reality.