23 Dec 19

One-third of young Americans has no driver's license

The total number of Americans with a driver's license is still increasing, but much more slowly than it did in recent decades. The reason for this should worry the automotive industry: a growing number of young Americans is happy to not to obtain a driver's license – ultimately shrinking the pool of potential drivers and buyers of automobiles. 

A recent study shows that one-third of 19-year-old Americans do not have a driver's license. That's more than double the share of 19-year-olds without a license in 1985. This may be a reflection of the millennial generation's much-vaunted aversion towards ownership and preference of pay-as-you-go services – the so-called 'Netflix model'. In terms of mobility, this points to a future dominated by Mobility as a Service (MaaS). 

However, while the trend is real, the motives behind it could be more complex than they seem at first glance. Another study shows that while millennials are more likely to use public transport and shared mobility services than older generations, this is less the result of a supposed 'aversion' towards cars, and more one of their personal circumstances. 

Millennials are more likely to be single and urban, which means they are less reliant on a personal vehicle than parents in suburbs, for example. As millennials grow older, marry and get children, their mobility preferences may change – and they may get a driver's license after all, just later than earlier generations...


Authored by: Frank Jacobs