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This report examines key trends in commuting among the employed population in New York City between 1990 and 2019.


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, 2021.


Between 1990 and 2019, most of the employed population of New York City (around 75%) spent between 10 and 60 minutes commuting to work. During this period, workers in New York City also experienced a general increase in travel time to work: the proportion of workers who reported travel times of less than 10 minutes dropped from 16.4% in 1990 to 14.6% in 2019, while the proportion of workers who reported travel times of 60 minutes of more increased from 7.8% in 1990 to 10.9% in 2019. Public transit was the most popular means of transportation among the New York City working population. From 1990 to 2019, almost half of the New York City working population relied on public transit to work, and the share gradually increased from 51.8% in 1990 to 55.6% in 2019. The second most popular means of transportation was by a private vehicle (including auto, truck, van, Taxicab, and motorcycle), but the proportion of people using them dropped from 34.3% in 1990 to 27.5% in 2019. Around 11% of New York City’s working population chose to bike or walk to work, and the proportion remained relatively stable from 1990 (10.9%) to 2019 (11.6%). Working at home gradually gained popularity, with its share of the population rising from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2019. 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: Hu, Beiyi (2022). Transit Equity: Trends in Commuting among the Employed Population in New York City, 1990-2019. Edited by Sebastián Villamizar Santamaría. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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