If You Live Here, You Probably Don’t Have (or Want) a Car

Americans have had a long romance with their cars, which are often viewed as an embodiment of freedom and independence. But auto love doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, nearly one in 10 American households didn’t own a car in 2013.

That’s according to 24/7 Wall St., which reports that in several cities across the country many people are carless, either by choice or because they can’t afford a car.

“The concentration of businesses and people plays a major role in both traffic congestion and in many people’s decisions to own a car or not,” 24/7 Wall St. said.

In fact, 7 of the 10 cities with the highest percentage of carless households had above average population densities.

Clifford Winston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told 24/7 Wall St. that “density is an indication of accessibility.”

In those dense cities, one of the major costs associated with owning a car, aside from hours lost in traffic jams, is parking. New York City parking costs are the highest in the country, more than $560/month in Midtown Manhattan, according to a 2012 survey by Collier’s International, a real estate corporation. Midtown is followed by Downtown Manhattan ($533), Boston ($405) and San Francisco ($375).

Not surprisingly, New York City has the highest percentage of households without a vehicle (54.4 percent), as well as the biggest percentage of residents who use public transportation to get to work (56.7 percent).

Here are the cities where a lot of people don’t have (or want) a car:

  1. New York, N.Y. 54.4 percent without a vehicle.
  2. Hartford, Conn. 40.4 percent.
  3. Washington, D.C. 37.4 percent.
  4. Boston, Mass. 33.9 percent.
  5. Reading, Pa. 31.7 percent.
  6. Philadelphia, Pa. 31.5 percent.
  7. New Haven, Conn. 30.1 percent.
  8. Trenton, N.J. 30 percent.
  9. Baltimore, Md. 29.8 percent.
  10. San Francisco, Calif. 29.3 percent.

I live in Montana, where it seems as if everyone owns at least one car. I checked the statistics, and Montana does have one of the highest rates of vehicle ownership in the country. This is no surprise considering the rural nature of our state and the lack of public transportation available.

Do you own a vehicle or have you opted to be carless? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Should you choose to join the ranks of car owners, or get a new car, watch this video on how to get the best possible loan to make that purchase:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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