Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. This exceeds the two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) frequently taken by workers over the course of a year. For the nation as a whole, the average daily commute to work lasted about 24.3 minutes in 2003. Based on a ranking of states with the longest average commute-to-work times, the ACS showed that New York (30.4 minutes) and Maryland (30.2 minutes) residents spent the most time traveling to their jobs. New Jersey (28.5 minutes), Illinois (27.0 minutes) and California (26.5 minutes) were also among states with some of the longest one-way commute times. States with some of the lowest average commute times included South Dakota (15.2 minutes), North Dakota (15.4 minutes), Nebraska (16.5 minutes) and Montana (16.9 minutes). In a ranking of large cities (with populations of 250,000 or more), New York (38.3 minutes); Chicago (33.2 minutes); Newark, N.J. (31.5 minutes); Riverside, Calif. (31.2 minutes); Philadelphia (29.4 minutes); and Los Angeles (29.0 minutes) had among the nation’s highest average commute times. Among the 10 cities with the highest average commuting times, New York and Baltimore lay claim to having the highest percentage of people with “extreme” commutes; 5.6 percent of their commuters spent 90 or more minutes getting to work. People with extreme commutes were also heavily concentrated in Newark, N.J. (5.2 percent); Riverside, Calif. (5.0 percent); Los Angeles (3.0 percent); Philadelphia (2.9 percent); and Chicago (2.5 percent). Nationally, just 2.0 percent of workers faced extreme commutes to their jobs. For a ranking of commute time by city, click here. Other highlights: · Chicago; Riverside, Calif.; and Los Angeles were the only cities among those with the highest average travel times to work that are not located on the East Coast. · Among the 10 counties with the highest average commuting times, the highest percentages of extreme commuters were found in the New York City metro area: Richmond, N.Y. (11.8 percent); Orange, N.Y. (10.0 percent); Queens, N.Y. (7.1 percent); Bronx, N.Y. (6.9 percent); Nassau, N.Y., (6.6 percent); and Kings, N.Y. (5.0). · Among the 10 states with the highest average commuting times, the highest percentages of their workers commuting 90 or more minutes to their job were found in New York (4.3 percent), New Jersey (4.0 percent) and Maryland (3.2 percent).
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