Schaller Consulting Archive
The Changing Face of Taxi and Limousine Drivers
U.S., Large States and Metro Areas and New York City
July 6, 2004--Schaller Consulting released a 38-page report today, "The Changing Face of Taxi and Limousine Drivers in the U.S., Large States and Metro Areas and New York City." The report, based on recently released U.S. Census data files, shows that in 2000 the number of taxi and limousine drivers in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 230,000 drivers. With a recent federal survey showing that 12 percent of Americans used a taxi or limo service in the previous month, the Census data show that taxis and limos are a significant and increasingly important transportation service in the U.S.
As the number of drivers has increased, the composition of the driver work force has changed. In 2000, 38 percent of taxi/limo drivers were immigrants, an increase from 27 percent in 1990 and 8 percent in 1970. Taxi/limo driving now has the third-highest percentage of immigrants, behind only tailors and farm laborers, among occupations with at least 50,000 workers in the U.S.
Immigrant taxi and limo drivers are primarily from South Asia (6.8 percent of all drivers), the West Indies (6.7 percent) and Africa (6.3 percent). Leading countries of origin are the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Mexico, former USSR, Haiti, India, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
The report also shows that taxi/limo driving is one of the most predominantly male occupations in the U.S. The percentage of female drivers increased to 13 percent in 2000, however, up from 11 percent in 1990 and 3 percent in 1960.
Other highlights in the report are:
The study also found that taxi/limo drivers are often better educated than one might expect, with 14 percent of drivers having college degrees. The highest proportions of college graduates driving taxis and limos are in Maryland (23 percent of drivers have a college degree) and Illinois (22 percent), while the lowest percentages are in Pennsylvania (9 percent) and Massachusetts (10 percent).
Bruce Schaller, author of the report and a nationally recognized expert in the taxicab business, said, "The growth in the number of taxi and limo drivers is spurred by the revitalization of urban centers and increases in business and leisure travel across the U.S."
Commenting on the increase in immigrant drivers, Schaller said, "Driving a taxi or limousine offers immigrants the opportunity to begin climbing the ladder in pursuit of the American dream. The job requires hard work and the earnings are modest, but taxi and limo driving offers independence and the opportunity to make hard work and hustle pay off."