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This report documents the evolution of commuting times 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.


There are two main findings. First, about half of the population in the country took between 10 and 30 minutes to commute to work—a figure consistent over time. That said, the second finding is that the proportion of people taking more than half an hour to get to work has been increasing steadily. In terms of race, non-Hispanic whites have the highest proportion of people in the shorter commuting times (less than 30 minutes) compared to other racial and ethnic groups. For example, by 2018, 25.4% of non-Hispanic white workers took less than 10 minutes to get to work, compared to 18.2% of Asians in the same category. Latinos (21.3%) and non-Hispanic blacks (19.5%) were in between of the other two racial and ethnic groups.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). Commuting Times 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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