Long Commutes Afflict Millions Of Workers, Census Bureau Reports

Millions of US workers face long commutes each workday, according to a report released today by the US Census Bureau. Over half a million of these workers face commutes of over an hour and a half.

Just over eight percent of US workers have daily commutes of over 60 minutes, and nearly a forth of these workers rely on public transportation. One tenth of all commuters rely on rail travel, whether that be a subway car or train.

“The average travel time for workers who commute by public transportation is higher than that of workers who use other modes,” Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau statistician, said. “For some workers, using transit is a necessity, but others simply choose a longer travel time over sitting in traffic.”

The state with the most long commuters is New York with 16 percent followed by Maryland and New Jersey both at 15 percent.

Nearly 600,000 are “mega commuters,” people who travel at least 90 minutes and 50 miles to work. The average mega commuter is male, older, married, makes a higher salary, and has a spouse that does not work. Most mega commuters leave the house before 6 am. Unsurprisingly, metro areas with large populations attract larger numbers of metro commuters.

The average one-way commute is 25.5 minutes, with one fourth of workers leaving their county to work. One in ten workers leave their state. Over 70 percent of Washington, D.C.’s, workers live in a different state, with most of them coming from the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland. As a result, these two states ranked highest among states with workers who travel out-of-state for work.

Only four percent of workers avoid the issue entirely and work from home.

These numbers come from the American Community Survey. Governments and planners use this data to make transportation planning decisions. Marketers and employers also pull on these statistics.


Do you begin each workday with a long commute?

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