Thursday, August 20, 2015

County-to-County Commuting

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“I don’t mind my long commute. The problem is, I always end up at work.” John Wagner 

The average Utah worker spends slightly more than 21 minutes traveling to their place of employment. However, not all commutes are so straightforward. Recently, I learned of the long-distance commute of several workers in a small southern Utah town. These individuals worked in the Dakota oil fields but regularly returned to their homes and families in Utah. Obviously, buried within the averages are a wide variety of commuting experiences.

Fortunately, recently released county-to-county commuting flows data from the U.S. Census Bureau sheds light upon Utah’s more detailed commuting habits. This data tracks commuter information between counties throughout the United States via the American Community Survey between 2009 and 2013.

The following interactive visualization illustrates commuting data for all Utah counties. You can download the data by clicking on the desired chart and selecting "Download", then “Crosstab.”

Not surprisingly, most county-to-county commuting occurred in neighboring counties.

In Davis County, often considered a “bedroom” community, almost as many residents commuted to neighboring Salt Lake and Weber counties (61,700) as lived and worked in Davis County itself (75,300).

Employment-rich Salt Lake County acted as a magnet for workers living in every county in Utah except Daggett County. In addition, many counties in bordering states are home to Salt Lake County in-commuters.

California provided an employment draw for numerous workers living in southern Utah.

Almost 1,000 Washington County residents commuted to Clark County, Nevada (which includes Las Vegas).

Roughly 1,400 Morgan County residents live and work in their home county. However, almost 2,700 residents work in other counties.

The oil and gas fields of Duchesne County also attracted workers from other areas. Almost 2,000 workers commuted into Duchesne County, some from as far away as Georgia, Michigan and Texas.

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