A Car's Role in the Divide of America

A new analysis on how cars divide America has stated automobiles "play a central role in the worsening of social , political, and economic divides."

Citylab author, Richard Florida writes about the statistical-correlation analysis done by colleague Charlotta Mellander who ran correlations for the share of workers who drive their cars to work alone, along with three other types of commuting: taking transit to work; walking to work; and biking to work. 

She compared these to certain key features of our economic and political geography, including income, education, and occupational class; population size and density; and political affiliation and voting. 

Mellander found many differences in metropolitan areas where a high number of people drive their cars to work and those where a high number take transit, walk, or bike. 

She explains we sort into communities based on our reliance of cars and how car use correlates to income and wealth. 

Places where commuters are car-dependent were found to be considerably less affluent and those where more people use transit or bike to work are more affluent. 

Mellander also relates automobile dependence to a lack of education. In areas with more highly educated commuters (measured as the share of adults who have a college degree), people use transit, bike or walk more often. 

Most people don't look into the geography of car dependence often as a way to distinguish themselves into a certain social or political sphere but according to Florida, "cars are not only the chief destroyer of our communities, but are tearing at the nation’s political and social fabric."

Photo: Getty Images

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