More city dwellers steer clear of owning cars

A growing number of Americans living in cities are joining the ranks of those who have decided they don’t need to own a car.

According to a new study by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute professor Michael Sivak, as of 2012, 9.22 percent of American households did not own a vehicle—a slight decrease compared to the prior year.

(Read more: Gen Y holding back on buying cars)

That decrease snapped a four-year run where the percentage of American homes without a vehicle had increased.

Meanwhile, in 21 of 30 U.S. cities studied by Sivak, the percentage of homes that do not own a car, truck or SUV showed an increase in 2012 compared to 2007, the year with the lowest recent proportion.

(Read moreMinicars do poorly in crash tests)

New York has the highest percentage of households without a vehicle, 56.5 percent, and is one of six cities where at least 30 percent of homes do not own a vehicle. The other five are Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Baltimore.

The study’s results are the latest indication that a number of people in the U.S. do not own a vehicle due to the economy’s slow recovery, the rising cost of buying a vehicle and a growing number of other transportation options, including car share programs and mass transit.

—By CNBC’s Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.

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