Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nice graphic showing the decline over time in the number of teenagers getting drivers licenses. WHY is this the trend?

Why don't young people want to drive anymore? Is this a good or bad thing?

As you move from left to right on this graphic, focus on the difference in the BLUE line (1983) and the GREEN line (2010). The bars represent the percentage of that age group in those particular years that have drivers licenses given that year. In other words, the number with licenses in that age group divided by the number of people in that age group in that particular year (1983, 2008, 2010).

Example: In 1983 approx 70% of 17 year olds had licenses. Fast forward to 2010 and approx 47% did. That is around a 33% decrease.  Certainly not insignificant.

Source: The Atlantic
The article this graphic comes from points out the statistically significant decline between 2008 (the RED bar) and 2010 (the GREEN bar) and asks what is driving this decline in the desire to get a license.

On the negative side I can see this affecting used cars sales, a big business for car dealers.

On the positive side I see fewer accidents, hence injuries and deaths.  Use of less gasoline.  Parents don't have to pay high car insurance premiums.

I can come up with more positives than negatives.  Extra credit for good responses at to how this trend may negatively impact the economy as a whole today and in the future.


  1. I think this indicates that at the family level we are getting less production. For example, when it comes to getting a kid to school, it appears more likely that only one parent is working, and one can spend time shuttling kids to school and back. Of course by choosing to do that instead of working and buying another car, gross consumption is falling and countering gdp growth

  2. Thank you for the comment. Good observation. There is always a cost to every economic action, some predictable and some not.


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