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Census Bureau Reports 540,000 Workers Commute into the District of Columbia Each Day

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WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The District of Columbia has among the highest number of commuters coming from another county or county-equivalent in the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today in new estimates released from the American Community Survey. Nationally, 27.4 percent of workers commute outside the county where they live.



Among workers in the District of Columbia, 539,543 live outside the District, according to 2006-2010 estimates from the American Community Survey. For example, 136,219 workers commute in from Prince George's County, Md., 107,123 from Montgomery County, Md., and 90,207 from Fairfax County, Va.

Meanwhile, 77,907 residents leave the District of Columbia for work, with 21,741 going to Montgomery County, 15,594 to Prince George's County and 13,205 to Arlington County, Va.

"It is well known that the District of Columbia draws a lot of commuters to work. The detailed information in the American Community Survey tells us where District of Columbia workers are coming from, where its residents work, and how its commuting patterns compare to those of other large counties," said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau statistician who studies commuting. "This information shapes our understanding of the boundaries of local and regional economies, as people and goods move across the nation's transportation networks." 

The American Community Survey also provides annual estimates about how commuters in District of Columbia travel to work and how long it takes them to get there.

Means of Transportation

  • In 2011, 33.1 percent of workers in the District of Columbia drove to work alone, compared with 76.4 percent nationally.
  • Meanwhile, 6.5 percent of District of Columbia workers carpooled in 2011, while 9.7 percent in the nation carpooled to work.
  • In 2011, 39.6 percent of all workers in the District of Columbia used public transportation — excluding taxicab — to get to their job, compared with 5.0 percent in the nation as a whole.
  • About 3.2 percent of all workers in the District of Columbia biked to work in 2011, compared with 0.6 percent nationally.

Travel Time to Work

  • In 2011, the average one-way commute to work for people living in the District of Columbia was 30.1 minutes. The average commute nationally was 25.5 minutes.
  • About 9.2 percent of all workers had a commute of 60 minutes or more in 2011, compared with 8.1 percent in the nation as a whole.

View more commuting statistics for the District of Columbia online:

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from town and city planners to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation's people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said such information would allow Congress to "adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community," and over the decades, allow America "an opportunity of marking the progress of the society."

Melanie Deal


Public Information Office

Press kit



SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau


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