It probably will come as no surprise: Where you live often dictates the length of your commute.
And in the Washington metropolitan area, the number of “Super Commuters” (those whose daily perambulations to and from work require more than 90 minutes) seems to play out along predictable patterns: the closer one lives to the D.C. core, the less time, on average, spent commuting.
ApartmentList.com scoured U.S. census data and added its own interpretations to list all U.S. counties by percent of Super Commuters, no matter their method of getting from home to work and back.
It’s still a relative rarity, but long-haul commuters are becoming more common – their ranks swelled at more than three times the overall growth rate in commuters between 2005 and 2017.
“Super commuters are highly concentrated on the peripheries of the nation’s supply-constrained coastal hubs, with the San Francisco and New York City regions serving as prime examples,” analyst Chris Salviati said. “As technology, finance and other industries continue to cluster in these job markets, a lack of new-housing supply has driven up prices. As a result, workers are pushed further and further from the urban core in the search for more affordable housing options.”
Among Virginia jurisdictions part of the Washington metropolitan area, Arlington had the lowest rate of Super Commuters, at 1 percent. (Technically, Falls Church was lowest at 0.8 percent, but cities aren’t formally part of the study.)
The percentage on Super Commuters rises as the distance to D.C. grows: 2.7 percent in Fairfax County, 4.9 percent in Loudoun County, 6.4 percent in Prince William County, 6.8 percent in Clarke County, 8.7 percent in Fauquier County, 8.9 percent in Jefferson County (W.Va.), 11.2 percent in Stafford County, 12.4 percent in Culpeper County and 14.4 percent in Rappahannock County.
(Even further afield is Westmoreland County in Virginia’s Northern Neck, where 13.6 percent of commuters are of the long-haul variety – including both those who make the journey into Richmond and the slightly longer trek into Northern Virginia.)
For those who think of commuter road warriors as those who rise before the crack of dawn, get behind the wheel of their cars and make a long trek to work, only to reverse the journey later in the day, the survey provides some surprises. Commuters in the Washington region who rely on public transit are nearly three times as likely (11.5 percent to 4.2 percent) to have 90-minute-or-more commutes compared to those who commute by personal vehicles.
That also may be the case in Staten Island (Richmond County), N.Y., where 14.3 percent of commuters are of the long-haul variety. Many rely on subway, bus and ferry to get to and from work.
Another long-haul outpost of the nation’s largest metro area is the mountainous, almost rural community of Pike County – the only Pennsylvania jurisdiction within the New York City metropolitan area – where 17 percent of commuters spend 90 minutes or more on their commutes.
(Pike County is a geographical anomaly, straddling several metro areas that provoke mixed loyalties. What other communities tend to root for the New York Yankees in baseball and the Philadelphia Eagles in football?)
Certain pockets of rural America also are seeing plenty of long-haul commuting, including:
• Clay County, W.Va., which is relatively rural but is within the Charleston metro area, 17 percent.
• LaSalle Parish, La., 14.5 percent.
• Morgan County, Ky., 13.5 percent.
• Elliott County, Ky., 12.9 percent.
For more information on the data and an interactive national map, see the Website at https://bit.ly/2H79TrX.