The Economic Perspective: “The Decline in Young Drivers”

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the decline in young drivers. Mike, one thing parents of our generation – the baby boomers – could count on was nagging from us to drive as soon as we turned 16.  But I understand this is now longer the case. Why?


Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Driving for late teen individuals – including ages 16 to 19 – has fallen significantly in the last 30+ years
  2. For example, in 983 40% of 16 year olds had a driving license; today it is 22%
  3. Several reasons for the change
  4. Young people today can stay connected to friends with technology
  5. Today’s young people grew up during the financial crisis, and so many are more frugal than their predecessors
  6. Vehicles are more expensive today, even adjusting for inflation, with all the add-on’s, and learning to drive costs more
  7. Last, there are now less expensive alternatives – ride-sharing, and rental bikes and scooters
  8. I’m MW


Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics