The four-car families: Working women and their stay-at-home offspring behind rise in vehicles on the driveFamilies with four or more cars account for nearly one in 50 of all householdsStudy by RAC Foundation analysed census results
00:58 GMT, 26 December 2012
The number of households with four or more cars has soared by 51 per cent to nearly half a million over the past decade.
The rising number of women who work is one factor behind the increase. Another is the trend for grown-up children to continue to live with their parents.
Families with four or more cars now account for nearly 1 in 50 of all households, an analysis for the Daily Mail of the 2011 census results by the RAC Foundation showed.
Rising: The number of households with four or more cars has risen by 51 per cent in the last decade, according to analysis for the Daily Mail by the RAC Foundation (stock image)
The organisation said the findings are proof of the ‘relentless rise of the car’ and our dependence on it at a time when families are being priced off trains and seeing cuts to local and rural bus services.
The number of households with three cars is up by nearly a third (31.5 per cent), while two-car families have increased by 13 per cent.
Overall the number of households with two or more cars is up by nearly a fifth (18 per cent).
In contrast the number of homes with no car or just one car has grown by less than 4 per cent.
However, a ‘real terms’ assessment showing the number of cars per 1,000 people reveals that the proportion of households with no car has actually fallen by 4.5 per cent. Those with one car has also dropped, according to this measure, by 3.6 per cent.
Although the areas with the biggest proportion of multi-car households tend to be in the wealthier parts of southern England, those seeing the fastest growth in such homes are in the less well-off or more rural parts of the North and Wales.
These are also among the places which have seen the biggest rises in women drivers in recent years. The RAC Foundation compared the 2001 and 2011 censuses and found that some 7.5million households in England and Wales now have two or more cars or vans.
Increase: Families with four or more cars now account for nearly one in 50 of all households
That is nearly one in three (32 per cent) of the total, a rise of around 18 per cent on the 6.37million households a decade ago.
Over that period the number of two-car households has risen 13.3 per cent to nearly 5.78million.
The number of three-car families has risen 31.5 per cent to 1.28million. And the number of households with four or more cars has soared 51.3 per cent to 453,190.
Across all of England and Wales, three-quarters (74 per cent) of all households now have at least one car or a van available to them. But this hides big regional differences.
Almost all London boroughs have seen a significant decrease in car and van ownership, with Hackney down 24 per cent to 170 cars per 1,000 people. But Shropshire has seen a 55 per cent rise to 604 vehicles per 1,000 people.
Nearly 2.6million more women have driving licences today than 15 years ago – almost double the rise in the number of male drivers which is up just 1.4million.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘More women are working than ever before and it is the car that is getting them about.’