random memes }

Motor trends?

There seems to be a marked change occuring in the population of cars I see in taking my kids to the local elementary school. Last year may well have marked the peak of the SUV-craze. Today there seemed to be noticably fewer mega-vehicles in the drop-off line than you would have seen last year.

This is a rather particular sample. The sample consists of families with children of elementary school age (roughly 5-12 years old) . As the kids grow the older families drop out of the sample, and younger families come in. The neighborhood is roughly upper-middle class (though there are some apartments in the area). There are a number of factors that might skew the sample.

House prices have more than tripled in the 11 years since moving here. Couple this with low interest rates - doubtless some of the new vehicles are accounted for by refinance and taking some of the increased value out of the house. In the late-1990's a good chunk of the new vehicles were from folks whose stocks were doing well. As older folks moved out, the newer folks moving in generally needed higher incomes to afford the increased home finance cost and taxes.

There may be a secondary effect from rising house prices. There are some substantial blocks of apartments in the area. Early in the history of the school I remember hearing from the principal that relatively few children were from the apartments. Perhaps as house prices have become less affordable we have have more families with children in apartments?

The half-Hummers (H2's) seem to have disappeared. The "lifted" trucks seem the more numerous of the remaining SUVs - perhaps this represents the folks who are slower fad-wise? The SUVs were always a bit silly on a practical level, and - spotless and unscratched - were clearly used as ego-enhanced minivans. The number of new minivans might represent younger families, older families replacing SUVs, or both.

Oh well - an amusing speculation :).