Special Report

The Town With the Shortest Commute in Every State

Methodology

To determine the town with the shortest commute in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of average commute times from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.

Towns were excluded if average commute time estimates were not available in the 2020 ACS, if there were fewer than 1,000 workers 16 years and over who did not work from home, or if the sampling error associated with a town’s data was deemed too high.

The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a town’s average commute time was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all towns’ average commute times. We similarly excluded towns that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

Towns were ranked based on their average commute time. To break ties, we used the share of workers with a commute of 15 minutes or less.

Additional information on the share of commuters driving alone, carpooling, and using public transit are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS. Because the Census Bureau didn’t release one-year estimates for 2020 due to data collection issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all ACS data are five-year estimates.

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