A publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business
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How Long Is That Commute? OnTheMap Sheds Light on Distance from Home to Work

Nearly half of those who work in Indiana live within 10 miles of their job (see Figure 1), while 15 percent commute more than 50 miles each way. OnTheMap, a web-based tool from the Census Bureau showing the work-residence patterns of workers, was upgraded earlier this year and includes several new analytical capabilities. This article highlights the new “distance direction” feature using both statewide data and that for Indiana’s 10 largest cities.

Figure 1: Distance to Primary Job for Indiana Workers, 2010

Figure 1: Distance to Primary Job for Indiana Workers, 2010

Note: Distance is calculated from work census block to home census block.
Source: IBRC, using Census Bureau data

More than half of workers in 6 of the 10 largest cities in the state live within 10 miles of their job (see Figure 2). Who has the shortest commutes? Sixty-three percent of workers employed in Evansville and South Bend travel less than 10 miles (see Table 1).

Figure 2: Commuting Distance for Workers in Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

Table 1: Percent of Workforce Living Less than 10 Miles from Job, Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

Note: Cities are sorted by size of workforce.
Source: IBRC, using Census Bureau data

Table 1: Percent of Workforce Living Less than 10 Miles from Job, Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

City Percent of Workforce Number of Workers
Evansville 63% 54,524
South Bend 63% 35,520
Fort Wayne 58% 75,807
Muncie 54% 17,549
Gary 53% 16,443
Bloomington 51% 23,102
Indiana 49%    1,254,055   
Hammond 49% 14,356
Carmel 47% 24,082
Fishers 45% 11,568
Indianapolis 45% 221,971

Source: IBRC, using Census Bureau data

At the other end of the spectrum, those working in Bloomington had the highest percentage (21 percent) of commutes exceeding 50 miles (see Table 2). Among the 10 largest cities, Bloomington workers also had the highest percentage of those traveling 25 to 50 miles.

Table 2: Percent of Workforce Living More than 50 Miles from Job, Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

City Percent of Workforce Number of Workers
Bloomington 21% 9,217
Fort Wayne 18% 23,833
Muncie 16% 5,112
Indianapolis 15% 75,108
Indiana 15%    375,592   
Fishers 14% 3,554
Evansville 14% 11,911
Carmel 14% 6,924
South Bend 12% 6,854
Gary 12% 3,675
Hammond 11% 3,305

Source: IBRC, using Census Bureau data

Figure 3 shows the radar charts generated by the OnTheMap application. These charts combine distance and direction into a single visual and illustrate the uniqueness of each city’s commuting structure.

Figure 3: Distance and Direction to Home for Workers in Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

Figure 3: Distance and Direction to Home for Workers in Indiana's 10 Largest Cities, 2010

Source: IBRC, using Census Bureau data

OnTheMap, now in its 6th version, includes data for 49 states plus the District of Columbia (data for Massachusetts should be available in the near to medium term). It is worth noting that these data do not currently include the self-employed, military and the informally employed (i.e., those not covered by state unemployment insurance laws).1 Prior users of OnTheMap will notice that the new application is much faster and includes 2010 census blocks and other geographies.
View the analysis guides for a step-by-step approach to using each of the report types available in OnTheMap, or simply go to the website and jump in: http://onthemap.ces.census.gov/.

Notes

  1. Federal worker data were released in the summer of 2012 and self-employment data are tentatively planned for 2013.

Rachel M. Strange
Geodemographic Analyst, Indiana Business Research Center, Indiana University Kelley School of Business