Where Are Workers Making the Longest Commutes?
Do you have a long commute to work? If it takes 90 minutes or more in each direction, congratulations, you’re part of a cohort known as …
Do you have a long commute to work? If it takes 90 minutes or more in each direction, congratulations, you’re part of a cohort known as “supercommuters.”
As onerous as that kind of daily travel may seem, more Americans have been doing it in recent years. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of people making such trips to work rose by 45 percent, while the total work force grew by just 13 percent, according to a study by Apartment List. By 2019, 4.6 million people — or 3.1 percent of all U.S. workers — were part of the group.
The pandemic has taken many workers off the roads and eliminated their commutes entirely, but the new era of work-at-home policies ultimately may create many more supercommuters. The most recent data examined in the Apartment List study was from 2019, but the study suggests that as a result of the pandemic exodus from urban centers to suburbs and exurbs, a wave of full- and part-time supercommuters could emerge as offices reopen.
Or, perhaps not. Surprisingly, distance from work was not found to be the defining factor of a long commute; about half of supercommuters lived within 30 miles of the job. Also, those using public transit were five times more likely to be supercommuters than drivers. Both statistics point to traffic and insufficient public-transportation service and infrastructure as strong contributing factors.
The nation’s largest and most expensive metropolitan areas — New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — account for about a third of all those making the long commute. Stockton, Calif., about 80 miles east of San Francisco, was found to have the highest rate of supercommuters, and three of the 10 metros with the highest rates were also satellites of San Francisco.
This week’s chart shows the 10 metros with the highest rates of supercommuters, how much they grew in each metro from 2010 to 2019, and how that growth compared with overall growth in the work force.
For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.