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More young singles, couples and parents now car-free while older homes hold on to their wheels

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, Apr 2010–Mar 2011 n = 18,263 and Apr 2014–Mar 2015 n = 15,913 Australians 14+.

An estimated 574,000 Australian households (6.3%) now don’t have a car, up from 490,000 (5.8%) four years ago. However this small overall increase masks divergent trends at opposite ends of the household life cycle, new automotive research from Roy Morgan shows.

A higher proportion of younger and mid-life households, ranging from Young Singles, Young Couples and Young Parents through to Mid-Life Families, now don’t have car compared with 2011. But Older Households—which make up around a third of the population—have bucked the trend, and are now less likely to be car-free.

In the year to March 2011, only around 1 in 15 households comprising Young Couples (6.4%) didn’t have a car; four years later, and it’s over 1 in 9 (11.3%). During that time, the rate of car-free living among Young Couples surpassed that among Older Households, which declined from 7.5% to 6.4%.

17.0% of Young Singles now don’t have a car in the household (up from 15.6% in 2011). The most likely household type to have a car is Mid-Life Families—however the proportion without one has nearly doubled from 1.8% to 3.5% over the last four years.   

% of each Household with no car: 2011 vs 2015

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, Apr 2010–Mar 2011 n = 18,263 and Apr 2014–Mar 2015 n = 15,913 Australians 14+.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director – Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The number of Aussie car free households is on the rise, with almost 1 in 5 young singles living in a house with no car at all.

“Overall, households without a car don’t appear to be rushing to the dealership anytime soon, with purchase intention levels well below average across the majority of the household life-cycle segments. Only car-free young couple households are as likely to intend to buy a new car as the industry average.

“Looking at young singles or parents living in a household with no car, used car purchase intention is at or above the norm – suggesting new car affordability may be a factor. Among mid-life families, mid-life households and older households with no car, car purchase intention is much lower when compared with car-owners in equivalent household.

“Of all the life cycle segments and combinations of current car ownership, those most likely to be in the market for a new car are mid-life households that already have three or more cars in the driveway—in fact, around 1 in 5 are intending to either expand the garage or replace an existing vehicle in the next four years.”

To learn more about Roy Morgan’s automotive research, contact: 

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%