Do you have a car?
It seems like a straightforward question—after all, access to a car is a necessary and expected part of life in most of the United States.
Or at least, it used to be.
Increasingly, Americans are falling out of love with the idea of owning a car. Gen Y doesn’t seem to have inherited the want or need to own a car, new cars have in many cases lost their appeal, car insurance is staggeringly expensive in many states and ride-sharing is facilitated by all manner of convenient apps and websites.
Now, CNBC reports that the number of American households without a single car has doubled over the past 10 years, up to 9.3% of the population. A survey conducted by CNW Marketing found that a notable increase in carless households began in 2007, shortly before the 2008 recession. The rise might be associated with the lack of car ownership among Gen Y, the firm posits, combined with the aging U.S. population moving into no-car-needed retirement communities.
The idea that everyone must have a car might not just be outdated—it might not have ever been practiced. Data from the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, reported in The Atlantic, found that among highly developed countries, the U.S. ranks only 25th in the world when it comes the percentage of the population that owns a car.
If you do have a car, enjoy the freedom of going wherever the road leads … but keep an eye out for that pesky car ownership price creep.