The Longest Commutes in America

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – You know that old saying about New York City: If you can make it to work here, you can make it to work anywhere.

That’s because residents of the Big Apple have the longest commute in America, according to a new report from the Census Bureau that examines the commuting habits of Americans. Residents of the New York metropolitan area spend an average of 34.6 minutes commuting to work, just edging out Washington, D.C.-area commuters, who clocked in with 33.4 minutes of commuting time. (The average American commute is around 25 minutes each way.)

Residents of those cities get to work in different ways, though. Close to a third of those in the New York area commute to work via public transportation, and while Washington ranked third in usage of public transportation (the San Francisco Bay area came in second), it was a distant third, with about 14% of D.C. denizens using the Metro system. Most of the rest drive, braving the infamous Beltway (and helping the area earn the title of the most accident-prone city in America).

Unfortunately for the environment, New York residents are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to using public transportation: By far the most popular commuting method in the U.S. is driving, and it’s gotten more popular every year. And despite the presence of carpool lanes in many areas, 75% of all workers drive to work solo. The highest carpooling rate can be found among Hispanics, 16.4% of whom carpool to work.

Residents of the small city of Great Falls, Mont., have the best commute of any metropolitan area in America, at just 14.2 minutes. And a special mention goes to the college town of Ithaca, N.Y., where 15.1% of residents simply walk to work.

Of course, there’s more to a morning commute than total commuting time – there’s also what time you have to wake up in the morning and get out the door. As a general rule, blue-collar workers were more likely to have to be out of the house before 7 a.m. than white-collar workers; around 20% of office professionals don’t need to leave the house until after 8. The earliest risers were members of the armed forces, over a quarter of whom had to start their commute between 5 and 6 in the morning.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

Show Comments

Back to Top