Census data show average U.S. commutes range from 5 to 45 minutes
FRED has all sorts of socioeconomic data beyond the traditional macroeconomic fare, and today we highlight data on commuting time provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. These data are available at the county level, which makes it possible to compare various areas of the country. In the graph above, we can see that commuting times on the coasts (New York and Los Angeles) are longer and have increased more rapidly than the commuting times in St. Louis. This should surprise no one, but we thought we’d highlight a perk for those living in FRED’s hometown.
We can get a bigger (and much less anecdotal) picture by looking at the relevant GeoFRED map below. Non-urban commuting times tend to be shorter, but you’ll have a hard time finding the county with the shortest commuting time: We centered the map on the continental U.S., so you have to work a little to find Aleutians East Borough, Alaska, which has a daily commute of 5.13 minutes, closely followed by its neighboring counties. In the continental U.S., Kent County, Texas, has the shortest commute: 7.7 minutes. The longest is Clay County, West Virginia, which beats the metropolitan areas with a commute of over 45 minutes.
How this graph was created: Search for “commuting” and the counties in our graph should be among the top choices. Select them and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Format” tab to choose graph type “Bar.” For the map, go to GeoFRED and click on “Build New Map” in the upper right. From the “Tools” menu on the left, select “Region Type: County” and “Data: Mean Commuting Time for Workers.”
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.
View on FRED, series used in this post: