Why Millennials Drive Less than Any Other Generation
Millennials seem to be the generation that everyone loves to hate. From clothing choices to career paths to food preferences, millennials seem to come under fire for a plethora of things regularly. Recently, it seems that even their driving habits have come under scrutiny. Recent studies have shown that there is a sizable decline in the number of millennial drivers. Is it laziness, co-dependence, or indifference? Or are there other little known, mitigating factors at work? Let’s explore the salient facts, shall we?
It is a well-known fact that a lot more driving occurs in the suburbs and non-metropolitan areas, as opposed to bigger cities. This is because metropolitan areas have a lot more public transportation options, such as bus, train, and tram systems. Not only that, everything is a lot more accessible within the city. Smaller towns and suburbs, on the other hand, often do not have public transportation systems in place, which means that their residents are obliged to drive personal vehicles.
Now, with millennials choosing to move to and thrive in bigger cities where they can pursue dynamic careers, it only follows that a lot of them have no need for personal vehicles because public transportation is abundant. This alone already makes a great case for why there are fewer millennial drivers at present.
On another note, large, metropolitan cities often have rather dire traffic situations. Fewer cars on the road are the only answer to a smoother, steadier flow, so it is a lot more practical for working millennials to find alternative—and often more practical—means of transportation, such as public vehicles, or even carpooling.
Millennials are generally a highly educated bunch with a good percentage of them being university- and college-educated. This means that a lot of them are saddled with sizeable student loans—the payment of which usually takes priority over buying other stuff, such as vehicles.
Factor in expenses such as student loans and credit card debt, and coupled with the fact that wages are on the lower end of the spectrum these days, it is then safe to say that millennials, in general, simply do not make a lot of money. Which, again, may hamper their purchasing power, especially when it comes to extraneous things such as personal vehicles. So it could be that millennials drive considerably less because they are unable to afford it, or their funds are invested elsewhere.
In 2015, a good 36% of people aged between 18 and 31 years live in their parents’ homes. This means that a lot of millennials usually just carpool with members of the family. This is actually a very practical arrangement when you consider factors such as parking spaces and fuel expenses and the like. Not only that, a lot of millennials who are still living at home consider their living arrangements as temporary, which basically means that they may be hesitant to commit to purchasing something major, such as a vehicle, until they can figure out what they want to do and where they want to go next in their life.
Change in life cycles
In this day and age, it is apparent that millennials are getting married a lot later and delaying having children by choice. In fact, the current average age of marriage for men is now at 29 (from 23) and 27 for women (from 21). Not only that, the average child-bearing age has now increased from 21 to 26.
A lot of couples generally find the need for a car, or even multiple cars, when they start having children. With this delay, the need for a car or two is also delayed subsequently. And while some 2-person households have multiple vehicles, today’s economics is making the 1-car-per-household dynamic the current norm.
With both the Internet and traditional media (like television, radio, and print) saturated with environmental awareness campaigns, and with results of environmental research so easily accessible, it is, indeed, very safe to assume that millennials are among the most environmentally-conscious people in the world. They basically grew up reading about gas emissions and fossil fuels and all other environmental concerns. This is why a substantial number of millennials conscientiously choose cleaner and sustainable ways to travel. They would actually choose public transportation, or even to carpool because they are aware that every little bit counts, so one less car on the road already makes a huge difference.
Aside from being environmentally-friendly, millennials these days are also very much concerned about their physical well-being, which is why a lot of them prefer to live a more active and healthy lifestyle. One of the dogmas that numerous millennials subscribe to is why ride when you can walk or run or even cycle to and from your destination? Not only are they doing their bit for the environment and for society, but they are also doing their bodies a great service.
Millennials generally connect through technology instead of geography, which is a huge factor when it comes to their driving habits. These days, more and more millennials are working remotely and telecommuting, so there really is no need to drive anywhere for work regularly. Not only that, they can already do a lot of their business online, so regular errands such as shopping, paying bills, and even banking can already be done without anyone having to leave the couch and driving anywhere.
Suffice it to say, millennials are simply not living the way previous generations have lived, so it is unfair to expect the same habits from them, driving included. While economics has a lot to do with it, lifestyle is actually an even bigger factor. It is, therefore, a good idea to discount established beliefs and expectations, and completely reconsider the present situation.
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