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This report examines how people commuted to work in the United States between 1990 and 2018, focusing on disparities with respect to race and ethnicity, sex, marital status, income, and poverty status


This report uses the American Community Survey PUMS (Public Use Microdata Series) data for all years released by the Census Bureau and reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa, ( See Public Use Microdata Series Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2019.


Car use had a slight decline among non-Hispanic whites but is increasing steadily among other race and ethnic groups. While in 1990, 88.6% of non-Hispanic white workers commuted by car, a slightly smaller proportion of 86.6% did so in 2018. Among non-Hispanic blacks, however, car use went up from 77.5% to 82.5% over the same period and from 79.8% to 85.3% among Latinos. Car use among Asians remained relatively stable at 79%. Conversely, other means of transportation to work that once were more common are declining. For example, public transportation use dropped five percentage points from 15.2% to 10.1% among non-Hispanic blacks and from 11.1% to 6.6% among Latinos between 1990 and 2018. Working from home rates increased steadily among all racial and ethnic groups. For example, Asians working at home went from 2.1% of those employed in 1990 to 4.7% in 2018. These data are pre-COVID-19. Other trends by sex, income, marital status, and poverty status are further analyzed in the report.


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Citation information: Villamizar Santamaría, Sebastián F. (2022). Means of Transportation to Work in the United States, 1990-2018. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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