Man standing by the car and giving back car keys

New study names the regions with the highest car ownership per household

A new study has identified which region is home to the households with the most cars or vans, with Birmingham ranking first.

Conducted by Insurance experts Howden Insurance, the research utilised data from the 2021 census. The analysis focussed on the number of available cars per household across the top 25 largest regions in England and Wales.

Of the 423,456 households in Birmingham, 6.3% have at least three cars or vans (26,683), while almost a third (31.7%) of households don’t have any cars or vans.

Birmingham also has the most households with one and two cars or vans at 176,325 and 86,325, respectively (0.7% and 0.3% of the total number of households in England and Wales).

Birmingham City Council aims to reduce transport’s impact on the environment, supporting the city’s commitment to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.

With 142,676 households having one car or van, Leeds reflects a pattern similar to Birmingham, with many relying on one vehicle (41.8% of the city’s total households).

Leeds also reports 98,083 households without any cars or vans, suggesting a strong public transportation network or urban layout conducive to non-vehicle travel.

Each city shows varying degrees of reliance on personal vehicles. Sheffield, for example, has 67,843 households without any cars or vans and 14,381 households with three or more cars or vans (29.2% and 6.2% respectively).

In Manchester, 7,084 households have three or more cars and vans (3.3%), and 83,770 households have no cars or vans. The city places fourth in the ranking for households with just a single vehicle, with 92,267 (43%).

The ten regions with the highest car or van ownership per household

City No Car or Van One Car or Van Two Cars or Vans Three or More Cars or Vans 
Birmingham 134,123 176,325 86,325 26,683 
Leeds 98,083 142,676 79,730 20,977 
Sheffield 67,843 98,577 51,149 14,381 
Manchester 83,770 92,267 31,611 7,084 
Bradford 57,910 88,910 48,227 14,820 
Bristol 50,141 87,781 41,397 12,321 
Liverpool 83,142 83,796 33,311 7,242 
West Northamptonshire 27,457 67,278 56,520 21385 
Cardiff 47,703 63,557 31,334 19,070 
North Northamptonshire 23,793 60,120 47,703 17302 

Overall, the total number of households in the study with three or more cars or vans stands at 246,315, further illustrating the diversity in vehicle ownership. The total number with no cars or vans amounts to 1,100,905.

The City of London, known for its dense commercial and financial districts, makes car ownership less practical than in more residential areas. Therefore, the results are not surprising with no households having three or more cars or vans.

123 households in the City of London own one car or van and 43 households own two cars or vans.

When analysing the data there are many determining factors to consider the ease of multi-vehicle ownership, including the public transport infrastructure of each city and the number of households.

For example, with its comprehensive network of buses, trains, and the Underground, residents and workers in London have access to efficient public transportation options that reduce the necessity for personal vehicles.

The cost of motor insurance in high-risk areas could also be taken into consideration when analysing the number of cars or vans per household, especially in areas with the highest populations where more cars would be expected.

According to the ONS, vehicle crime accounts for 4.7% of all main crime types with 397,264 vehicle crimes in the year ending September 2023 – an increase of 2% from the previous year.

Speaking on the findings, a spokesperson for Howden Insurance said, “If you’re looking at recent car ownership statistics, you’re witnessing a clear call to action, as it’s a reflection of our urban living spaces and how we navigate them.

“For those without a car, robust public transportation options are crucial. For families juggling multiple vehicles, it’s a question of necessity versus convenience. This data invites you to consider the broader implications of our transportation choices.

“It’s about recognising the role each of us plays in shaping sustainable, accessible urban environments. As we move forward, let’s think about how we can contribute to a future where mobility is not just about moving from point A to B but doing so in a way that respects our environment and one another.”

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