(lack of) transportation among older adults

New Mexico is a sparsely-populated, rural state with many older adults without means of transportation. I'm writing a grant proposal and asking for funding for older adults public transportation. To justify my ask, I'm using population data coupled with transportation data. 

"In New Mexico 18,013 older adults aged 65 years or older do not have a vehicle (US Census, American Community Survey 2016-2020 5‐Year Estimates, Table B25045). Further, New Mexico has the 6th lowest population density among all U.S. States – 17 residents per square mile –  therefore, making travel to resources difficult and lengthy."

Ideas for other ACS data sources to justify my funding request?


  • Food Desert data?

    The Food Access Research Atlas:

    Presents a spatial overview of food access indicators for low-income and other census tracts using different measures of supermarket accessibility;  Provides food access data for populations within census tracts; and Offers census-tract-level data on food access that can be downloaded for community planning or research purposes.

    Data Sources :
    Estimates in the Atlas for 2015 are based on a 2015 list of supermarkets, the 2010 Decennial Census, and the 2010-14 American Community Survey (ACS). The estimates for 2010 are based on a 2010 list of supermarkets, the 2010 Decennial Census, and the 2006-10 ACS.

    In the 2017 report, a directory of supermarkets, supercenters, and large grocery stores within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, was derived from merging the 2015 STARS directory of stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits and the 2015 Trade Dimensions TDLinx directory of stores.

    For more information, please refer to:

  • Oh, yes, great ideas! Thank you!

  • Gwendolyn: Table B25045 provides the number of SENIOR HOUSEHOLDERS with 0, 1, 2, 3, etc, vehicles in the household. The 18,013 is an estimate of senior households, not all persons age 65+ with zero vehicles in the household. It's a conservative estimate of the number of car-free seniors.

    I ran the analysis through the IPUMS USA for the 2016-2020 ACS PUMS, and came up with 18, 636 senior households (comparable to the 18,013 from census.data.gov) with 21,429 seniors (65+) residing in households with zero vehicles.

    To complicate matters you could look at car-insufficient households, say, a household with two working adults who commute by auto to work; one or more persons age 65+ living in that household; but only two vehicles in that household. In that case, the older person lives in a household WITH vehicles, but doesn't have access to a car when the working age adults are commuting to work by car. They're potentially isolated.

    I would still stick with the Table B25045 analysis, because you can analyze the data at a county and census tract-of-residence level. Where are those 18,000 car-free senior households in New Mexico?

  • Ah, okay, thank you so very much for the clarification, Chuck! This information is very helpful to me. And, yes, I will explore county-level data, too. Best, Gwendolyn