07/07/2020

Increase in Long Commutes Indicates More Residential Dispersion

A recent New York Times story chronicled the experiences of “extreme commuters,” those who travel two hours or more each way to work. The article focuses on people who commute to New York and notes that there is little or no data on extreme commutes. The Census Bureau, through the American Community Survey (ACS) does not survey two hour commutes. Its maximum classification is 90 minutes or more, though The Times focuses on the 60 minutes and over data, 2013 ACS.

Regrettably, The Times is not terribly clear in its portrayal of the ACS data, in noting that the 21 percent of residents spend more than 60 minutes getting to work, not mentioning whether it is the New York figure or the national figure. It is New York. The most recent 2015 data shows that only 9.0 percent of US workers spend 60 minutes or more getting to work. The New York metropolitan area figure was 21.4 percent.

However, The Times picks up on what’s going on in commuting. People are driving farther to qualify to live the lifestyles they prefer. Urban growth continues to be overwhelmingly in the suburbs, approximately 90 percent since 2010.

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