Car ownership (Domestic vs. Foreign)

Consider the following chart showing the relative ownership of domestic makes of cars to foreign makes by state.

The data is taken from the NHTSA fatal accident data base for 2016. It is not surprising that Michigan and other states with or near U.S. make factories have higher ratios of domestic makes than the coasts. I was surprised the difference was as great as it is, however. North Dakota (the highest ratio) had more than five times as many domestic cars as foreign cars. Hawaii (the lowest) had only about 44% as many domestic makes as foreign. The medium blue of Washington and Oregon indicates about equal numbers of domestic and foreign makes; anything to the right on the color line indicates more U.S. makes.

I used fatal crash data mainly because it was readily available, but I also think it is a reliable indicator of ownership in general. The chart does not represent new car sales but what is on the road now. Since newer cars are safer in general than older cars, the data is probably skewed somewhat toward older cars. I don’t think there is a significant difference in safety between the two groups as a whole, certainly not enough to make the map look much different. The data is based on the state where the accident took place, not the state of registration.

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