When I was a young teenortwentysomething "everybody" I knew had a car. Okay, not quite anybody. Lots of college students didn't bother, especially on campuses where they discouraged it (and by discouraged it I mean "not much free parking.") And having a car didn't necessarily mean your name was on the title. Maybe you just bummed your parents' beater. But the idea of being that age and not having a car was really a weird one. Sure plenty of poor people didn't have cars even then, but it was first on the list of things you'd buy if you could afford it.
I read various local forums, and there's a constant stream of people asking how they can get to their news jobs/internships/whatever out in the suburbs without driving. Despite having a pretty comprehensive suburban rail system, Philly doesn't have nearly enough transit oriented development to make the most of it. The rails and stations are there, but they don't do people much good if they're a 2-3 mile journey from the office park.