Cohort Effects and Their Influence on Car Ownership

Recent working paper

Proportion of population with a driver's license by age and cohort (1990, 2000, 2010).
Proportion of population with a driver’s license by age and cohort (1990, 2000, 2010).

Recent trends in the United States suggest a movement toward saturation of vehicle ownership. This paper examines this trend through an analysis of car ownership in the Minneapolis- St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) metropolitan region. Data from pooled cross-sectional household surveys are used to calibrate a model of car ownership that includes birth cohort effects to capture unobserved variations in preference toward car ownership across generations. Declines in household size and worker status have significant impacts in limiting the growth of car ownership, but they are also coupled by an apparent softening of preferences toward ownership among young adults.

Keywords: car ownership; cohort; generational effect; aging; income; saturation; United States