Here are counties where residents spend at least 50% of their income on transportation• < 1 min read
Our Data Snack series takes a visual approach to the world’s most important transportation insights. Understand the newest trends so that you can make your next transit decision with confidence.
What portion of an American’s income is spent on transportation?
On average, the answer is 17% — quite a lot, given that 35% of income is already set aside for housing costs. But for many Americans, transportation spending is even higher: The latest data reveals that for families with a median household income under $35,000, transport-related expenses account for more than 50% of household income across 160+ counties.
In fact, personal spending on transportation increased the most (10.1%) from 2018 to 2019 compared to other expenditures, reaching a new high of $10,742 per year. This surge was largely driven by vehicle insurance spending — which is itself driven by a dearth of public transportation options.
To alleviate the financial burden of private car ownership, city leaders around the world have started to upgrade their transportation network by integrating smart, technology-enabled services into the existing system, to provide more affordable, efficient and equitable ways of traveling.
TransitTech is already making a meaningful impact: 50% of riders using Via Jersey City, an on-demand service targeting transit deserts, have an income of less than $50,000 per year.
Reduced spending on transit has even encouraged some riders to re-think their plans for a private car: as one Jersey City rider observed, “My boyfriend and I were spending upwards of $275 a week on ride-hailing services… Via has changed it all, and spending only $10 a week on commuting has been life-changing. I had been looking to buy a car for a while, but now I see no need.”