Chart of the Day: Commuting by Automobile since 1960

Via Planetizen, here’s a chart with some handy-dandy ACS data:


Some comment on the data from Emily Badger:

… the decline in auto commuting among millennials applies to those “who live in the principle city of each metropolitan area — so, not the suburbs.” A four-point decline [see second bullet above] may not sound like much (it means about 76.7 percent of these young urban workers still commute by car). But since 2006, the rate of their decline in driving is about four times greater than the national average. And, as the [below] chart shows, changes in commuting patterns happen gradually over many years.

So, it really matters where you live. And carpooling isn’t cool any more. 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.


4 Responses to Chart of the Day: Commuting by Automobile since 1960

  1. Emily Metcalfe August 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    My guess is that carpooling has gone down as more households own 1 car per driver. I think it was more common for households to have only 1 car in 1980, so more carpooling.

    • Wayne August 24, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      I think there was also more correlation between where people lived and worked and having a career at a single corporation was still a thing (maybe in its dying phases). So chances are a few of your neighbors were also your coworkers and that made carpooling viable. None of that is really true anymore.

  2. GlowBoy August 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m an Xer and not a Millennial, but even for me it’s hard to envision a time in the distant past when carpooling might actually have worked.

    Not only do you need to have two or more people who live near each other AND work near each other (the latter much less common with jobs having also sprawled out across the suburbs), but they have to have the same work schedules. I don’t think very many office workers have fixed 8-to-5 schedules anymore (and a lot of people find themselves forced to work late without any predicability), and without a fixed work schedule it’s pretty impossible to make carpooling work on a regular basis.


  1. Sunday Summary – August 23, 2015 | - August 23, 2015

    […] Charts: Commuting by Automobile since 1960, Percent of US Who Spend Time with Neighbors,Emotional-Affective Trajectory of Public Engagement and The Demography of Cycling Deaths. […]

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