Feb 27, 2023

Question of the Day: Guess the percentage of each age group that has their driver's license: 16 year olds? 18 year olds?

Extra credit if you can guess the percentages of 16 and 18 year olds that were getting their licenses in 1983:) 


  • 25.3% of 16 year olds had their driver's license in 2021 (compared to 46.0% in 1983)
  • 59.7% of 18 year olds had their driver's license in 2021 (compared to 80.4% in 1983)


  • When did you get your driver’s license OR when do you plan to get your license?
  • What factors determined/will determine when you get your license?
  • Why do you think that fewer 16 and 18 year olds are getting their drivers license today compared to 1983? 
  • When it comes to auto insurance, do you think the cost of insuring a 16 year old is higher or lower than insuring an 18 year old? Explain your answer.

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (The Week and Federal Highway Administration 2021 data set):

Getting a driver's license used to be a sign of burgeoning independence for America's teens. That may not be the case anymore. The Washington Post reports that 16- and 17-year-olds are driving much less than their predecessors. "Unlike previous generations, they don't see cars as a ticket to freedom or a crucial life milestone." And that reluctance to get behind the wheel is lasting into young adulthood: Just 80 percent of adults in their early twenties had their licenses in 2020 — down 10 percent from 1997...And The Wall Street Journal in 2019 reported that while nearly half of 16-year-olds were driving in the 1980s, just a quarter were by 2017. The Washington Post, drawing on data from the Federal Highway Administration, suggests the number remained at about 25 percent in 2020.


Looking for more resources on auto insurance? Here's what the NGPF search tool found. 


 Already 190 entries have been received in round #1 of the FinCap Friday Frenzy contest. Play FinCap Friday before Thursday with your students and complete the short entry form for a chance for a virtual visit with Yanely and a class set of her new book. Learn more. 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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