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States With the Worst Commutes

The Worst States for Commuters


Other than the times you get handed an assignment by your boss that you absolutely don’t want to do, the worst part of the work day is probably the commute. But some places in the country have it worse than others.

Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released the first part of its massive 2009 American Community Survey, which compiled statistics on dozens of aspects of American life, including the wealth, age and ethnic demographics of different states. Among other things, the Census also surveyed residents of every state to find out the average amount of time it takes them to get to work.

On the whole, the average commute time actually decreased slightly nationwide to 25.1 minutes last year. By comparison, it was 25.5 minutes the year before that. So either fewer people are on the road driving because of the recession, or Americans are just moving a little slower.

Of the states with the shortest commute, the majority are in the middle of the country. North Dakota, which had the shortest overall, had an average commute time of 16.6 minutes. Perhaps it should change its motto to the “work-from-home state.”

On the bright side, if your state happens to be on this list, at least you will have earned the right to complain to your friends and family elsewhere in the country.

Photo Credit: tronics

10th Worst Commute: New Hampshire


To New Hampshire’s credit, the state does have an excellent rideshare system designed to encourage residents to carpool or take public transportation. Unfortunately, the state’s commute is still longer than most. Perhaps they are battling all the morning congestion from the many who flock to the state the night before to buy up alcohol.

Average time: 25.7 minutes

Photo Credit: Leventhal Map Center

9th Worst Commute: California


Just blame it on the self-driving cars that Google is testing in California. Either that or the fact that the state has the third worst roads in the country.

Average time: 26.6 minutes

Photo Credit: worldsurfer

8th Worst Commute: Georgia


Georgia and the next state on the list are the only two outside of the Northeast and California to crack the top 10. Much of this is likely due to its big city, Atlanta, which has been ranked among the worst cities for commuting in the past.

Average time: 26.9 minutes

Photo Credit: totalAldo

7th Worst Commute: Virginia


For Virginia, much of the commute time is likely a result of those traveling into and out of D.C. for work.

Average time: 27.2 minutes

Photo Credit: citta-vita

6th Worst Commute: Massachusetts


Like New Hampshire, Massachusetts has an ambitious rider program run by the state’s Department of Transportation, which helps match commuters with carpools and emergency rides home. Yet, the commute is still time consuming.

Average time: 27.3 minutes

Photo Credit: Getty

5th Worst Commute: Illiinois


The average commute probably shoots up a bit whenever Obama is in town.

Average time: 28 minutes

Photo Credit: laffy4k

4th Worst Commute: District of Columbia


No wonder it takes so long for things to get done in Washington. Legislators have to spend so much time just getting to work in the morning.

Average time: 29.2 minutes

Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar

3rd Worst Commute: New Jersey


Not only does New Jersey have one of the worst commutes in the country, but it also has some of the worst roads. I wonder if the two are somehow, possibly related?

Average time: 29.8 minutes

Photo Credit: psflannery

2nd Worst Commute: Maryland


This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that Baltimore ranks among the worst cities for commute time.

Average time: 31.3 minutes

Photo Credit: Scaramouche!

The Worst Commute: New York


Congratulations New Yorkers, you’re number one. Much of this is likely due to New York City, which is notoriously congested. But on the bright side, many parts of New York outside the city actually have fantastic commutes. Buffalo and Rochester in particular have ranked high on other studies for having short commutes with limited travel delays.

Average time: 31.4 minutes

Photo Credit: joiseyshowaa

The Worst Commutes in the World


If you think these commutes are tiring, check out our roundup of the worst commutes in the world. Some spend eight hours or more a day trying to overcome various obstacles just to get to where they work, and then to make the trip back.

Photo Credit: Diana Blackwell

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