Car access: Everyone needs reliable transportation access and in most American communities that means a car. 

Insights & Analyses

  • Black households are least likely to have access to a vehicle. Households headed by people of color overall are less likely than White households to have access to a vehicle in highly urbanized states like New York and Pennsylvania but also more rural ones like Wyoming and Idaho.
  • Households in Northeastern cities like New York, Newark, and Jersey City are more likely to lack access to a vehicle compared to households in smaller cities in the West, such as Plano City, Texas and Henderson City, Nevada.
  • Immigrant households for all racial and ethnic groups, except Black households, are more likely to lack access to a vehicle compared to their US-born counterparts.
  • At 48 percent, Native Americans households of Other Alaskan ancestry are the most likely to lack access to a vehicle out of all racial and ethnic groups for all ancestry and nativity breakdowns.

Drivers of Inequity

Income and wealth disparities have caused Americans of color to have less access to vehicles than White Americans. Racial segregation forged through the expropriation of land from Indigenous people and racially discriminatory practices such as redlining dispossessed communities of color and excluded them from economic prosperity. As a result, people of color are more likely to experience poverty and lack generational wealth than their White counterparts. This trend along with racially discriminatory pricing for auto loans and car insurance that make car ownership more costly drive inequities in car access between White Americans and Americans of color.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to ensure everyone can connect to opportunity

Strategy in Action

Transit initiative increases mobility in North Central Montana. In the Great Plains area in Northern Montana, many people live dozens of miles away from jobs, schools, grocery stores, and hospitals but lack access to vehicle. Additionally, transportation is the largest living expense for the majority of households in the state. Recognizing the need for accessible transportation, Opportunity Link, along with local and tribal government agencies, built the North Montana Transit System. The system now includes four regional bus routes and provides coordinated service with neighboring regions’ transit systems. It also provides free transportation to polling places on election days and pick-up and drop-off service for Boys and Girls Club members during the summer. In 2019, the system received a $510,088 federal grant that will be used to purchase more buses and upgrade bus facilities. Read more.

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