The Carfree Census Database

People often ask, "What are the best places to live if you don't have a car?" In an attempt to answer this question, we've compiled a database of the carfree communting behavior and car ownership rates for all communities in the United States, over 24,000 communities in all. The assumption is that communities where a large proportion of people commute to work without a car and/or don't own a car are more congenial to an autofree lifestyle.

The data are derived from Summary File 3 of the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Data from 1990 was included to allow trends to be seen over the decade.

Please note that the data is taken from the census long form, which was given to approximately one out of six households. Because of this, the sample size in small towns of about a thousand or less was inherently small and shouldn't be judged as accurately reflecting that of the entire community.

A few communities in the database have both zero population and commuters in 1990. This is the result of the Census Bureau defining a new area (known as a Census Defined Place, or CDP) in the 2000 Census that did not exist in the 1990 Census. It doesn't indicate no one lived in the area previously, it only means the borders of the census tract were redrawn.

We hope you find this useful. If you have any questions, find any bugs, or have suggestions for improvements, please email us. Thanks.

Note: Some visitors were kind enough to point out some omissions and inconsistencies in our 2000 Pennsylvania dataset. Those errors have now been corrected.


Related Links:

Mike Lewyn has created a very interesting "Auto Free Livable Cities Guide" that ranks the major cities in the US using similar census data plus crime statistics.


There are two ways to use this database: predefined searches or custom searches

Predefined searches

Click on a link below to see the top cities in each category:

Small towns
(population 1000-50,000)
Small cities
(population 50,000-250,000)
Large Cities
(population 250,000+)
ALL communites
(regardless of population)
Most bicycle commuters Most bicycle commuters Most bicycle commuters Most bicycle commuters
Most pedestrian commuters Most pedestrian commuters Most pedestrian commuters Most pedestrian commuters
Most public transit commuters Most public transit commuters Most public transit commuters Most public transit commuters
Most non-car commuters Most non-car commuters Most non-car commuters Most non-car commuters
Most carfree households Most carfree households Most carfree households Most carfree households

Custom searches

Search by state and/or population size:

Get carfree data for communities in having populations between and

sort results by:
city, alphabetically
% of bike commuters, in descending order
% of pedestrian commuters, in descending order
% of public transit commuters, in descending order
% of commuters who don't commute by car (= total of the three above groups), in decending order
% of households without an automobile (carfree households), in decending order

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