Ranking tables [PDFs]:
State | County | Place
Americans Spend More Than 100 Hours Commuting to
Work Each Year, Census Bureau Reports
New York and Maryland Residents Face Most Time Traveling to Work
Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year,
according to American Community Survey (ACS) data released today by the U.S.
Census Bureau. This exceeds the two weeks of vacation time (80 hours)
frequently taken by workers over the course of a year. For the nation as a
whole, the average daily commute to work lasted about 24.3 minutes in 2003.
"This annual information on commuters and their work trips and other
transportation-related data will help local, regional and state agencies
maintain, improve, plan and develop the nation's transportation systems,"
said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. "American Community Survey data
will provide valuable assistance to agencies offering housing, education and
other public services as well."
Based on a ranking of states with the longest average commute-to-work
times, the ACS showed that New York (30.4 minutes) and Maryland (30.2
minutes) residents spent the most time traveling to their jobs. New Jersey
(28.5 minutes), Illinois (27.0 minutes) and California (26.5 minutes) were
also among states with some of the longest one-way commute times. States
with some of the lowest average commute times included South Dakota (15.2
minutes), North Dakota (15.4 minutes), Nebraska (16.5 minutes) and Montana
(16.9 minutes). (See state rankings [PDF].)
Of the 231 counties with populations of 250,000 or more covered by the
ACS, Queens (41.7 minutes), Richmond (41.3 minutes), Bronx (40.8 minutes)
and Kings (39.7 minutes) - four of the five counties that comprise New York
City - experienced the longest average commute-to-work times. Additionally,
workers living in Prince William County, Va. (36.4 minutes); and Prince
George's County, Md. (35.5 minutes); - suburban counties located within the
Washington, D.C. metro area - also faced some of the longest commutes. (See
county rankings [PDF].)
In a ranking of large cities (with populations of 250,000 or more), New
York (38.3 minutes); Chicago (33.2 minutes); Newark, N.J. (31.5 minutes);
Riverside, Calif. (31.2 minutes); Philadelphia (29.4 minutes); and Los
Angeles (29.0 minutes) had among the nation's highest average commute times.
Among the 10 cities with the highest average commuting times, New York and
Baltimore lay claim to having the highest percentage of people with
"extreme" commutes; 5.6 percent of their commuters spent 90 or more minutes
getting to work. People with extreme commutes were also heavily concentrated
in Newark, N.J. (5.2 percent); Riverside, Calif. (5.0 percent); Los Angeles
(3.0 percent); Philadelphia (2.9 percent); and Chicago (2.5 percent).
Nationally, just 2.0 percent of workers faced extreme commutes to their
jobs. (See extreme commutes rankings [PDF].)
In contrast, workers in several cities are fortunate enough to
experience relatively short commute times, including Corpus Christi, Texas
(16.1 minutes); Wichita, Kan. (16.3 minutes); Tulsa, Okla. (17.1 minutes);
and Omaha, Neb. (17.3 minutes). (See city rankings [PDF].)
Chicago; Riverside, Calif.; and Los Angeles were the only cities among those
with the highest average travel times to work that are not located on the
Among the 10 counties with the highest average commuting times, the highest
percentages of extreme commuters were found in the New York City metro area:
Richmond, N.Y. (11.8 percent); Orange, N.Y. (10.0 percent); Queens, N.Y.
(7.1 percent); Bronx, N.Y. (6.9 percent); Nassau, N.Y., (6.6 percent); and
Kings, N.Y. (5.0).
Among the 10 states with the highest average commuting times, the highest
percentages of their workers commuting 90 or more minutes to their job were
found in New York (4.3 percent), New Jersey (4.0 percent) and Maryland (3.2
The new ACS is the cornerstone of the government's effort to keep pace
with the country's ever-increasing demands for timely and relevant
population and housing data. Being mailed to about 250,000 (roughly
1-in-480) addresses a month nationwide, the ACS will provide current
demographic, housing, social and economic information about America's
communities every year - information previously available only once every 10
- x -
The American Community Survey data are based on responses from a sample of
households across the nation. The estimates and rankings may vary from the
actual values because of sampling or nonsampling variations. The statistical
statements have undergone testing, and comparisons are significant at the
90-percent confidence level. Additional information and data profiles for
the nation, states, counties and places may be accessed at
<http://www.census.gov/acs or <http://factfinder.census.gov .