Vehicles per Thousand Inhabitants in EU and US Regions

Mar 13, 2018
Chart of EU and US Regional Vehicular Ownership Rates

The chart above shows the rate of motor vehicle ownership in EU and US regions.  No surprise here, every single American region has a higher vehicle ownership rate than any European region.


  • The difference between the region with the largest ownership rate, the Midwestern US, and the region with the smallest rate, the Eastern EU, is 444 vehicles per 1,000 people.
  • The Midwestern US has 1.9 times the ownership rate that the Eastern EU does.
  • All regions save for the Eastern EU have at least half as many vehicles as people.
  • The mean ownership rate for the US is 943.9 and the median 902.4.
  • The mean ownership rate for the EU is 555.5 and the median 568.9.


  • EU and US Vehicle ownership data is from 2015.
  • US population data is from 2010; EU population data is from 2011.
  • EU and US vehicle ownership data come from different sources.
  • EU and US population data come from different sources, although both are the official sources for each.
  • Total vehicles include automobiles, taxis, buses, trucks, and motorcycles of both public and private use.
  • The Midwestern US consists of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
  • The Western US consists of California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • The Southern US consists of Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
  • The Northeastern US consists of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • The Southern EU consists of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta.
  • The Western EU consists of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
  • The Northern EU consists of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • The Eastern EU consists of Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.


Only the Southern US has an ownership rate that is clearly larger than the next highest region, it has an ownership rate that is 23% larger than the Northeastern US.  All other regions have at most an 11% larger ownership rate than the next highest region's ownership rate.

The ownership rate for the entire European Union is 578 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants which ranks the EU as a whole just under the Western EU and just above the Northern EU.  The ownership rate for the entire United States is 854 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants which ranks the US as a whole just under the South and above the Northeast.


Eurostat.  2017.  "Data Explorer."  Accessed December 11, 2017.

International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.  2018.  "Vehicles in Use - OICA."  Accessed January 20, 2018.

United States Census Bureau.  "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016."  Accessed December 12, 2017.

United States Department of Transportation.  2018.  "Table MV-1 - Highway Statistics 2015."  Accessed February 20, 2018.