This research examines the history of hitchhiking in the United States during the 20th century and tries to give reason for the decline of this American pastime. This research looks specifically at the 1970s and the ties between the youth culture and the popularity of hitchhiking during that time. Through past literature, sociological theory, and 12 in-depth interviews this study examines motivation for hitchhiking, generational differences, and social change in the United States since the 1970s. This study has concluded that hitchhiking had many close ties to the youth culture of the 1970s, including a sense of community that promoted helping one's neighbors and fellow members of the counterculture. Reasons for the decline of hitchhiking are the increase of individuals owning cars, the greater accessibility to public transportation, the growing issue of safety, and the increase of everyday violence in our country. This research intended to give an inside view into the practice of hitchhiking and promote further research on a topic that has been given little attention.


Hurst, Charles E.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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