How many licensed drivers are there in the United States?
We get asked a lot, how many drivers are in the USA? What’s the percentage of Americans with drivers licenses? This information isn’t always easy to find so we put some stats together on the number of licensed drivers in USA 2018.
We pulled data from the Federal Highway Administration and added our own analysis and projections to answer the question, “how many drivers are in the USA?” and many other related questions.
Licensed Drivers in US
Statistics on how many drivers in the USA
In the 1950s the number of drivers in the USA increased an average of 3.6% every year. In the 1960s the number of drivers in the USA increased at a lower average of 2.51% each year. The 1970s saw the annual increase rise slightly to 2.84%.
The 1980s was much slower in terms of annual growth, with an average of a 1.46% increase in the number of licensed drivers in the US. In the 1990s that continued to drop, to an average annual increase of 1.24%.
The 2000s saw a continued slowdown with an average annual growth of 1.14%. The 2010s had the lowest annual growth since the 1950s, at 0.81%.
As we pointed out above, 2012 was the first year with a decline in licensed drivers in the US from the year before.
Percentage of Americans with drivers’ licenses by age
We looked at how many drivers are in the USA by age. Here is the percentage of Americans with drivers’ licenses and compared to the total population, with population estimates from the Bureau of the Census.
Across all age groups, 84.6% of all Americans have a drivers’ license.
The lowest percentage of total licensed drivers is among 16 to 19-years-old, where 51.7% of the population have their driver’s license.
Statistics are based on 2017 population estimates.
% Licensed Drivers
16 to 19
20 to 24
25 to 49
50 to 69
70 to 84
85 and older
Drivers’ licenses by men and women
The question, “how many drivers are in the USA?” often also leads to gender questions. The split between drivers’ licenses held by male licensed drivers and female licensed drivers is very even. Base on 2017 data 49.4% of all licensed drivers are male, and 50.6% are male. Part of the reason the percentage is higher for female licensed drivers is related to life expectancy. In a younger age bracket, ages 16 to 24, 50.6% of all licensed drivers are male, 49.4% are female.
Percentage of Americans with a drivers license vs. population
Overall there are more licensed drivers in California than any other state, with more than 26 million licensed drivers. 84% of the population of California that is of driving age is a licensed driver. The second highest state of licensed drivers is Texas, with nearly 16 million, followed by Florida with over 14.6 million licensed drivers.
The state with the highest percentage of licensed drivers vs. the driving age population is Vermont. The state with the lowest percentage of licensed drivers vs. the driving age population is Kansas.
It has been claimed that there are 700,000 Lyft drivers in the United States and 1.5 million around the world.
How many CDL drivers in the USA?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 1,871,700 Americans heavy-duty truck and tractor-trailer drivers in the US in 2016. These drivers would have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The BLS is forecasting an increase in 108,400 jobs through 2026.
Sources for this article, including number of licensed drivers, are the US Census Bureau, the Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation, with additional analysis by Hedges & Company.
Number of Licensed Drivers in USA 2018 was last modified: October 17th, 2018 by jonhedges
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