Chart of the Day: Millennial Mode Share in Different Cities (1980 v. Today)

So this chart comes from a recent piece on Citylab attempting to debunk millennial trend pieces using ACS data comparisons from 1980. Here you go:

millennial mode share

As the author of the piece explains, this is proof that:

the notion that Millennials are spurning cars across the board is clearly oversimplified. In many big cities, young people today are commuting in much the same way they did three decades ago—tape decks notwithstanding.

Why 1980? Because using 1990 or 2000 data would show that there is in fact a trend in young people away from commuting by car.

This is just my opinion, but I feel like this story is lazy journalism because it doesn’t include important context. A lot was different back in 1980; for example, transit ridership in general was higher than today. There were a lot of roads built and cars sold during the 80s and 90s. A lot!

But anyway, still interesting I guess. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.


6 Responses to Chart of the Day: Millennial Mode Share in Different Cities (1980 v. Today)

  1. Steven Prince December 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Looking at the Census tool the numbers from 1990 to 2009-13 look similar, but driving to work did peak in the 2000 data set. Interesting that Minnesota car use in 18-34 year-olds used to be below the national averages but since 2000 have been above the national average.

  2. Mike Sonn
    Mike Sonn December 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    These “stats” will give MNGOP all the support they need to build more roads!

  3. Rosa December 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    I wonder what an employment or inflation-adjusted cost of gasoline line would look like on this.

  4. Nathanael December 10, 2014 at 5:36 am #

    1980 is a seriously cherry-picked year, coming right after the Second Oil Crisis, when there was a large, temporary boost in public transportation ridership.

    Anyway, I’m not entirely surprised about the cities with increasing car commute rates, which have had kind of terrible public transportation and massive road expansions. Except San Diego. San Diego *is* a bit surprising, as I’m not aware of any major road expansions, and there were fairly massive public transportation expansions. There may be something funny going on in San Diego.


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