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> One reasonable argument I've seen is that once you factor in car+gas, the difference narrows. There's also an element of the suburban "ponzi" scheme.

There are very few cities in the US in which owning a car is optional. Only one (New York City) has an outright majority of people who don't own a car. The next two, D.C and Boston, are the only others that have more than a third of households without a car[0].

The reason is that most cities just don't have the infrastructure necessary to facilitate car non-ownership. It's not that everyone wants to own a car; it's that you have to own a car anyway, at least some of the time, and once you already own a car, the impetus to live in higher-density, more expensive areas drops dramatically.

[0] You can inflate those numbers a bit by counting Jersey City and Newark as separate cities from the New York City metro area, but no matter how you slice and dice it, it doesn't change the numbers much.

Tokyo is the only city I've ever lived in where I didn't have to own a car, so I didn't. Everywhere else I've lived, I have had to own a car to get to work. Even in New York, I had to own a car to get to work. I hate everything about driving—other drivers, cops, accidents, detours, traffic, etc. I would never own a car if I could get away with it. Unfortunately, I've only been able to do that for about three years of my life.

I can't think of a single European city that I've personally been to in which car ownership was required. There were some in which it could be viewed as helpful, but the vast majority are car optional, especially in the NW of the continent.

I'm happy to be proven wrong, but in all honesty, I moved 4 cities in as many years, all in different countries, and all of different sizes.

> Even in New York, I had to own a car to get to work.

I'm assuming you lived in the outer boroughs? In Manhattan, it's painful to own a car unless you're really wealthy.

I've lived in Sydney and even though I had a car, I did not actually need it. I think I drove it less than once a month, and usually just to get out of the place.

I've visited NY a few times and if you can live along the subway corridors then you don't need a car.

Right now I'm in Europe, and own no car. But realistically the roads here and the driving is far more intimidating than in Australia.

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