Vehicle Availability by Household

Vehicle Availability by Household

There were 9.3 million U.S. households without a car, truck, or van in 2003 (9 percent of all households), down from 9.8 million in 1993 (10 percent of households). The 4.6 percent decline in households without vehicles occurred while the number of households increased by 12 percent. The improvement in vehicle availability may be related to a variety of factors, such as better vehicle reliability and longevity, rising incomes, and suburbanization.

Black, Hispanic, poor, and elderly households are more likely to be without a car, van, or truck than the population as a whole (figure 4-3). Poor households are the least likely to have a vehicle. Nevertheless, the percentage of poor households without a vehicle dropped from 33 to 27 percent between 1993 and 2003 [1].

The geographic location of a household also affects vehicle ownership. Central city households are less likely than those in other areas to have at least one car, truck, or van (figure 4-4). This may be due, in part, to higher poverty rates found in central city areas. When data are aggregated on a regional basis, the heavily urban Northeast has the highest share of households without a vehicle (figure 4-5).


1. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, American Housing Survey for the United States, H150 (Washington, DC: Biennial issues).