Carpooling and drivers without household vehicles: gender disparity in automobility among Hispanics and non-Hispanics in the U.S.

  • Miwa MatsuoEmail author


Personal automobility is critical for accessing economic and social opportunities in the auto-oriented built environment of the United States. Despite declines over the past 40 years, household carpooling remains the most popular alternative mode to solo-driving regardless of demographic group. While carpooling provides a degree of automobility, carpool-dependent passengers often suffer from practical and other disadvantages. This paper explores gender gaps and ethnicity in personal automobility levels, particularly among Hispanics. The analysis explicitly considers drivers’ access to household vehicles and non-drivers’ access to household carpooling. The research finds that Hispanic females, especially immigrants, are low in automobility, both in the probability of being a driver and in access to household vehicles. The large gender gap is specific to Hispanics, and differs from gaps found for non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks. The gender gap decreases, but persists, as immigrant Hispanics stay longer in the U.S., gain or maintain employment, or become college-educated. Surprisingly, the gender gap in personal automobility level exists even among U.S. native Hispanics. Gender gaps in personal automobility among different ethnicity groups, particularly Hispanics, merit more study, especially as commercial car-sharing and ridesharing services become more common.


Mobility Automobility Hispanics Gender Immigrants Ethnicity Carpool 



The author acknowledges financial support from Mid-American Transportation Center (Contract No. DTRT12-G-UTC07).

Authors’ contribution

MM Content planning, literature search and review, data construction and analysis, manuscript writing and editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Economics and Business AdministrationKobe UniversityKobe-ShiJapan

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