In the 1980's, more than half of all teenagers 15 to 19 years old had a driver's license. But that has changed. Since 1995, less than half of that age group has a driver's license. In 2010, the latest year for which data are available, only 45.3% of 15 to 19 year-olds had a license. There are many different reasons that this has happened. Some states have placed more stringent requirements on those applying for a license. For example, the State of Tennessee requires anyone less than 18 years of age to provide proof that they are currently attending school in order to obtain a driver's license. Among other reasons, the connectivity of the Internet may give teens less of an incentive to pursue a license, or the high costs of operating a vehicle may be prohibitive, thus obtaining a license is delayed.

Share of 15 to 19 Year-Olds with Driver's Licenses, 1980-2010
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Supporting Information

Number of Licensed Drivers, 15-19 Year Olds
YearNumber of Licensed Drivers 19 Years Old and UnderU.S. Population of
15-19 Year-Olds
Drivers as a Percent of Age Group
198011,496,00021,168,00054.3%
198111,215,00020,541,00054.6%
198210,993,00019,962,00055.1%
198311,280,00019,388,00058.2%
198410,366,00018,931,00054.8%
198510,011,00018,727,00053.5%
19869,920,75118,813,00052.7%
198710,034,30218,698,00053.7%
19889,964,53118,496,00053.9%
19899,674,28618,133,00053.4%
19909,249,04617,893,00051.7%
19918,813,92817,270,00051.0%
19928,749,55317,246,00050.7%
19938,781,08017,474,00050.3%
19948,948,79317,876,00050.1%
19959,124,12518,374,00049.7%
19969,234,00018,920,00048.8%
19979,626,94519,398,00049.6%
19989,782,76319,840,00049.3%
19999,610,14220,085,00047.8%
20009,743,51920,219,00048.2%
20019,420,64220,262,00046.5%
20029,298,25820,348,00045.7%
20039,263,21720,446,00045.3%
20049,333,08620,677,00045.1%
20059,337,29020,994,00044.5%
20069,727,51621,246,00045.8%
20079,920,17421,446,00046.3%
20089,953,93521,514,00046.3%
20099,932,44121,538,00046.1%
20109,556,24021,086,00045.3%
Sources:
Licensed Drivers - U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2010, Washington, D.C., September 2011, Table DL-20 and annual. Population - Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States.

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