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Key takeaways

Key takeaways

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Overall, the car-dependency index ranges from a high of 98.81 to a low of 50.8. The most car-dependent states largely exist in the southern part of the U.S. Conversely, the least car-dependent states are generally found on the West Coast or in the Northeast.

Rural versus urban density plays an important role in determining car dependency. The least car-dependent states have low percentages of residents living in rural areas. The opposite is true for states at the high end of the index. Residents in rural areas are less likely to have access to public transportation and are more likely to require a car for daily commuting and other responsibilities.

While driving has increased overall, a smaller share of U.S. employees are using their personal vehicles to get to work. In a 10-year span from 2007 to 2017, Census reported a 1.2 percentage point drop in workers who commute by car. Among the least car-dependent states, the drop was as great as 5.4 percentage points in the District of Columbia. Conversely, in the most car-dependent states, these numbers generally stayed the same or increased over the same time period.

Among the largest U.S. cities, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco experienced the greatest decreases in car commuters since 2007, at 9.2, 8.1, and 7.1 percentage points, respectively.

The Most Car-dependent States


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