Thursday, November 21, 2013

Commuting to Work in 2012

Jim Robson, Economist

In Utah in 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated through the American Community Survey (ACS) that there were 1,296,763 workers 16 years of age and over. Of these, 1.3 million workers, 18.6 percent, commuted outside their resident county to work. Five years ago, in 2007, this same percentage was estimated to be 17.9 percent.

The ACS produces annual results only for counties with a population of 65,000 or more. In Utah, only six counties are large enough. Their order from largest to smallest: Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, Cache and Washington counties. These six counties account for 84.7 percent of Utah’s population and 85.6 percent of Utah’s workers in 2012.

Below is a figure depicting the percent of workers in each county that commute outside their county for work.

The variation in the commuting percentages is quite large. Salt Lake County, the State’s largest in terms of population and the center of economic activity, has the smallest percent leaving the county to work. As the industrial and political hub of the state, workers living all along the Wasatch Front commute to jobs within Salt Lake County. Large proportions come from bordering Davis and Utah counties, and as far away as Weber County.

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