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Dear Mahatma: With all this fuss about expanding interstates, what percent of eligible millennials in Arkansas have a driver's license? Kids these days seem too into their phones to learn how to drive.

Also, what millennial wants to waste time commuting? -- A Short Commute Millennial

Dear Short: An attempt to answer this question requires a fair amount of data. Let's start by noting that Arkansas has about 3 million people, of whom a high percentage are smart. On the demographic intelligence flip side, there is us.

Let us pray. Dear Lord, let what follows be no more confusing than the typical bloviation printed here. Amen.

Our first step was to think like an epidemiologist, someone who studies the distribution of disease in populations. Not that driving is a disease. More like an affliction.

Second step was to define millennial. Turns out a millennial is someone born from 1981 to 1996. As of this writing, a millennial is someone between the ages of 23 and 38.

Next step was to examine an Arkansas population pyramid. Let's look at the population pyramid we found by the World Population Review. It describes population cohorts by fives. Looking at the millennial cohorts in Arkansas, the age 20 cohort has about 215,000 people. The age 25 cohort has roughly 195,000 people. The age 30 cohort has roughly 190,000 people. The age 35 cohort has roughly 180,000 people. And the age 40 cohort has roughly 175,000 people.

We came to these figures by carefully examining what the chart measured, using what statisticians call "eyeball estimates."

Makes sense, too, that the older people get the fewer of them there are. Cue Hamlet's remark about the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.

Now we will attempt to match up this scintillating data with some numbers from the state Department of Finance and Administration. That is, licensed drivers by age. The report covers the year ending June 30, 2018.

The first group of licensed drivers that most closely matches our millennial population is 24 to 29 years of age. In this group, which has about 195,000 people, there are 184,843 with a driver's license. The next group, 30-34, has about 190,000 people, 174,772 have a driver's license. Moving on, the 35-39 age group, with roughly 180,000 people, has 176,381 with a driver's license.

The math says 95 percent of people from 24 to 39 years of age have a driver's license. Give or take.

Ah, but how does this compare with older citizens? The age group with the highest number of driver's licenses is 55-59. There are 189,426 such people out of a cohort of about 200,000 people. That equates to roughly -- wait for it! -- 95 percent.

We conclude -- ergo, ipso facto, persona non grata -- that dang near every grownup in Arkansas has a driver's license, no matter what generation.

Metro on 07/20/2019


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Archived Comments

  • WhododueDiligence
    July 20, 2019 at 8:14 a.m.

    Thank you, persona grata. We get no non sense here.

  • BlueDogNight
    July 20, 2019 at 8:16 a.m.

    You would be surprised, or maybe not, at how many in certain economic sectors do not have a driver’s license. Not because they have never had one, but because theirs is suspended for various reasons: DUI, unpaid fines, unpaid child support, etc ad naseum. Caught up in a court system cycle that’s hard to break out of if you are poor. But no current license doesn’t stop them from driving, in my experience.