Study: More than a third of Americans have used a ride-hail service

January 15, 2019

The share of Americans that use ride-hailing services grew in the past three years, but the percentage of riders who use services such as Uber and Lyft daily has remained relatively flat.

The results of a study conducted by the Pew Research Center published Jan. 4 showed 36 percent of U.S. adults used a ride-hailing app in 2018. The figure is up from 15 percent in 2015; that same year, 33 percent of U.S. adults also said they'd never heard of ride-hailing. In 2018, only 3 percent of adults surveyed hadn't heard of ride-haling. About 61 percent of U.S. adults still said they'd heard of ride-haling, but never used a service like Uber or Lyft.

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Usage varies by age, income, and an individual's location. For example, 51 percent of Americans aged 18-29 say they've used Uber of Lyft, but just 24 percent aged 50 and older responded the same. Individuals with a household income of $75,000 or more annually are also twice as likely to use a ride-hailing service, compared to those with household incomes of $30,000 annually or less.

The usage even varies with education levels, too. The research showed 55 percent of adults with a bachelor's degree were Uber or Lyft users, but only 20 percent with a high school diploma or lesser education used one of the services.

It's no surprise the largest factor of ride-hailing use is location. Just 19 percent of rural American respondents said they'd used such a service compared to 45 percent of urban Americans. Forty percent of suburban Americans indicated they've hailed a ride using an app.

Yet, even within high-income groups who use the service more often than others, location prevails as a deciding factor. The research showed 71 percent of Americans with household incomes over $75,000 annually in urban areas use ride-hailing, while the figure drops to 32 percent for wealthy Americans in rural areas.

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Ride-share services are not as prevalent in rural areas, which is likely a major factor in their use.

One major statistic came out of the research, however: Americans are not replacing traditional mass transit or personal vehicles ownership with ride-hailing services. In fact, the majority of Americans used a service less than once a month. Only 2 percent said they used ride-hailing apps daily, and just 4 percent of the population uses the apps weekly. That's only an uptick of 1 percent compared to 2015 data.

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