The Number of ‘Super Commuters’ Explodes in America’s Housing-Starved Metros
A housing shortage in cities across the country is costing people more than just money. Unable to find affordable housing closer to the office, an increasing share of Americans are spending extraordinary amounts of time getting to and from work.
The number of “super commuters”—people who spend more than 90 minutes commuting one way—has grown by 45 percent, or three times the rate of the overall workforce, according to a new report from rental website Apartment List.
Pulling from data from the 2019 American Community Survey published by the U.S. Census Bureau, Apartment List found that 4.6 million people (or 3.1 percent of the workforce) qualify as super commuters.
“I think of this as primarily a symptom of excessive housing costs and lack of supply close to the urban core in the nation’s most expensive markets,” says Chris Salviati, an economist with Apartment List and co-author of the study. “These are places that have been rapidly adding jobs, but not adding new housing to meet that demand.”
That’s true of the ultra-expensive New York City region, which tops the nation both in the number of super commuters and in the percentage of the workforce that super commutes. Some 762,000 people there spend over 90 minutes getting to work, or about 7.2 percent of all workers.
Not far behind is the San Francisco Bay–San Jose region, where 269,000 people (6 percent of the workforce) super commute. That represents a staggering 255 percent increase in the number of super commuters from 2010.
Both have added a lot more jobs and workers than housing over the past decade.
In the San Francisco metro area, 3.46 jobs were added for every
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