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. And then, there are the “mega” commuters, who travel 90 minutes and 50 miles each way. About 600,000 people -- one in 122 of full-time workers -- make this commute each day.
The Census Bureau found that American commutes aren’t any worse, 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 last decade, and average commute times have remained stable.
Despite anecdotal reports of people traveling farther from home to find work during and after the recession, both the average commute time and the number of people traveling 60 miles or more has not grown significantly in the last 10 years, Census data shows.
Only 61.1 percent of workers with long commutes drove to work alone, compared with 79.9 percent for all workers who worked outside the home. Workers with long commutes who rode public transit experienced disproportionately long commute times.
The average commute time for all full-time American workers was 25.5 minutes each way. Mega commuters were more likely to be male, older, married, make a higher salary, and have a spouse who does not work. New York metropolitan area and the counties surrounding the District of Columbia showed high proportions of workers with long commutes, and commutes across county and state lines.