America's Changing Commuting Patterns

A new report out from the Census Bureau paints a comprehensive picture of commuting in the United States. Average commute times remain steady, but the most significant change may be in the percentage of people working from home at least once a week.
March 5, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Brad Plumer discusses the new findings on the lengths, modes, and geography of America's commuting patterns contained in a report just released by the Census Bureau. "About 1.7 million Americans have 'extreme' commutes that take 90 minutes or more each way. About 2.2 million workers have 'long-distance' commutes that span at least 50 miles in each direction."

"The bad news? Researchers have amassed evidence that miserably long commutes are associated with all manner of bad outcomes, from increased odds of divorce to neck and back problems to less sleep to sheer unhappiness."

"The better news? The Census found that American commutes aren’t any more grueling, on average, then they were back in 2000. After a sharp rise during the 1990s, the portion of 'extreme' commuters has stayed roughly constant over the years, and average commute times haven’t really budged in the last decade," notes Plumer.

The most significant change outlined in the report may be the 4.2 million person (35%) increase in telecommuting over the past decade. The Census Bureau has released a fascinating infographic that further explains the demographic profile of those working from home. Of note, Boulder, Colorado, is the city with the highest percentage of home-based workers in the U.S. (10.9%). 

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Published on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in The Washington Post
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