We've all heard the "location, location, location" mantra and there are many good reasons why – including your commute. Where you decide to live can mean the difference between a swift 15 minute commute or being one of the 600,000 workers that endure "megacommutes."
The average commute is about 25 minutes. Certainly not earth-shattering news, but what makes this figure interesting is that it remained virtually unchanged from 2000 to 2011. Many attribute this hold pattern to higher unemployment figures, the roughly 4.3% of workers who work from home, and the growing number of workers who work at home at least 1 day per week. What did change, however, is the number of "megacommuters"– those workers who face commutes of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles, one way. This adds up to at least 26,000 miles and 780 hours. That's 32 days a year.
The Long Commute and Your Commute
The long commute – whether by car, bus or train – has become a way of life for America's workers, particularly those living or working in major metropolitan areas. In one-third of the metro areas surveyed, 10% of the workforce commutes more than an hour each way. For the megacommuter population, San Bernardino County residents travelling to L.A. win the prize, topping a distance of 68 miles and 104 minutes each way.
If you're in the market to buy a home, do your homework on your location. Test the drive to and from work in rush-hour traffic and non-rush-hour traffic and make sure you're comfortable with the commute. Also factor in your drive time to and from schools, grocery stores, primary doctors and other locations that you visit most. You may be able to afford a bigger house with bells and whistles that's further away from work, but ask yourself if the hours lost in transit are worth the buck.
Some interesting facts about America's workforce and their commutes:
- 8.1% have commutes of 60 minutes or longer
- 9.4% spend at least one day per week working from home, easing traffic congestion
- 27.4% travel outside their county to work
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