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Transportation Nation

Study Confirms Fewer Young People Getting Driver’s Licenses

Friday, July 20, 2012

(Hover your mouse over the chart for more details)

Young people aren't lining up to drive like they used to. Year over year, fewer 16 to 24 year-olds are getting driver's licenses according to a new study released today by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

Take 16 year-olds: In 2008, 31 percent of them got driver's licenses. In 2010 it fell to 28 percent. That's part of a steady trend the researchers track back to 1983. That's when Return of the Jedi, Scarface and The Outsiders were in theaters, and 46 percent of 16 year-olds were licensed to drive. Now, with Netflix and iTunes, they don't need wheels to get to the movies.

Take this response we received from a listener in Florida when our partner The Takeaway asked young people about their driving habits:
"I drive less because I have become a couch potato. The Internet takes me anywhere I want to go. And services like Netflix provide entertainment at the touch of a button. It’s also a lot more affordable."

The U. Mich study found that the driver's license drop was a bit sharper for older teens: the percentage fell five percent for 18 year-olds from 2008 to 2010. Using Census and Federal Highway Administration data, the researchers identified a general decline in the percentage of people who sign up for a driver's license across almost all age groups, but it was especially pronounced for younger would-be drivers.

Study author Michael Sivak explained to Transportation Nation what he thinks is driving the trend:

"We think that there are three main reasons for the reduced percentage of young persons with a driver's license:
  • Electronic communication reduces the need for actual contact (and some young people feel that driving interferes with texting)
  • Current economic downturn is making it more difficult for young persons to buy and maintain a vehicle
  • Young people are moving in increasing numbers to large cities with reasonable public transportation (e.g., New York and San Francisco)"

See the full study in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.

 

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The Takeaway

"The Go-Nowhere Generation": Why Aren't Young Americans Hitting the Road to Find Jobs?

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Today’s generation is literally going nowhere." That’s the argument Todd Buchholz and his daughter Victoria make in a recent Op-Ed published in The New York Times. Census Bureau data shows that the chance a 20-something will move to another state has fallen more than 40 percent since the 1980s. Meanwhile, the proportion of young adults living at home has nearly doubled. The Buchholzes say what we’re seeing is a shift in attitude — and that today, more than ever, young people are less willing to leave their hometowns to find better opportunities.

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The Takeaway

Ron Paul's Youth Appeal

Friday, January 06, 2012

With neatly combed white hair, conservatively cut suits, and solid military service, Ron Paul may not seen like the fiery political outsider that all the kids are rallying around. But looking ahead to the New Hampshire primaries, pollster John Zogby says "Ron Paul gets 35 percent of Independents and 54 percent of 18 to 29 year olds." Many young voters in this age group are drawn to Paul's hard-line libertarian politics, particularly his anti-war stance.

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Schoolbook

Finding Patterns in School Suspension Figures

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The discipline statistics released by the city's Department of Education are fascinating, and factual nuggets were unearthed in the variety of news reports about them, including the breakdown of suspensions of minority and special education children, some cases of kindergarten suspensions and some schools that showed unusual patterns.

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The Takeaway

How to Increase Youth Involvement in Democracy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yesterday on The Takeaway, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said one of the best ways to ensure the continued success of American democracy is to get young people engaged again. "My commercial message is let's restore the teaching of civics to the high schools so that younger generations will know how their government works," Breyer said. "They’ll know a little bit about history and they’ll understand the importance of participating in the community's life." But what does it take to get today's students excited about civic life and government?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Book Futures: The Young Adult Market

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the fourth and final installment of our series on the future of books and the publishing industry, Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Marketplace and Publishers Lunch, discusses the growth in the young adult market.

We're coming up with a young adult reading list. Make your suggestions! 

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The Takeaway

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on Motivating Young People

Thursday, February 04, 2010

You may know me as The Takeaway's sports guy, but I spend most of my days working with young people in a pilot program that engages youth to fight climate change and improve community environmental health through service. The group is called Green City Force and its goal is to prepare people for careers in the green energy economy. It's part of the green jobs movement, but at its core, it's about developing young people.

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