The share of Americans working from home skyrocketed during the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, only about 20% of American workers with job responsibilities that could be done remotely worked from home, according to the Pew Research Center. In more recent months, a Gallup study found that 45% of full-time workers in the United States – and two-thirds of white-collar workers – were doing their job remotely at least some of the time.
The shift is proving to be a positive development for millions of Americans. Gallup reports that over 90% of remote workers hope that the trend continues after the pandemic, citing the lack of commute time as the chief benefit. (Here is a look at the state where the most people are working from home.)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time in the United States is 26.9 minutes. For those who have shifted to full-time remote work, this translates to about 4.5 free hours per week that they did not have before, or nearly 10 days a year.
Of course, commute times vary from person to person, but in some parts of the country, workers are far more likely to have longer commutes than in others. Using census data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the longest commutes. States are ranked based on their average commute time, from shortest to longest.
Depending on the state, average commute times range from as low as 17.3 minutes up to 33.5 minutes. While these differences are minor on any given day, over longer periods, they add up. In some states, average commute times total less than three hours a week, or about six days a year, while in others, they add up to more than five hours a week and 12 days a year. Here is a look at the cities where people lose the most time driving each year.
Variations in average commute times among states appear to be closely tied to means of transportation used. While there are exceptions, in states with the shortest average commute times, the share of commuters who drive to work alone is typically higher than the 74.9% national average. Similarly, in states with the longest commute times, the share of workers who rely on public transit often exceeds the 4.6% national average. Public transit usage rates tend to be higher in states that contain or border a major city, like New York, Washington D.C., or Chicago.
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