Check out the numbers for 19-year-olds. In 1983, 87.3 percent of people this age had a license. By 2014, the share had fallen to 69 percent.
The trend for the elderly, on the other hand, looks pretty different. There was an increase in the share of people over age 70 who had a license from 1983 to 2008, followed by an increase from 2008 to 2011, and a very tiny decrease from 2011 to 2014.
In fact almost every age group saw at least a modest decline in licensed drivers between 2011 and 2014. Seems like good news for Uber and other “ride-sharing” transportation companies.
For the record, the data for light vehicle sales per capita do not show similar trends. Sales per capita have been rising in the last several years.
It’s unclear what’s behind these longer-term downswings in driver’s licensing. Maybe they have to do with increased urbanization, changes in access to public transit, changes in licensing laws or other forces. (In an email, Sivak, one of the report’s authors, said he is currently studying possible explanations and in the mean time is reluctant to speculate.) What’s your theory?