Map | NJ Has Fastest Growing Commuter Counties

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Manhattan is the top work destination in the country for so-called extreme commuting – work trips that are more than 90 minutes each way. And the fastest growing commuter counties are in Northern New Jersey.

The number of employees commuting to Manhattan from Hudson County has increased by more than third over the past decade, according to data from the American Community survey. Passaic (22%) and Essex (24%) also experienced exponential growth.

“As housing costs have gone up, New Jersey has become a more attractive option for Manhattan workers,” said Michell Moss, director of New York University’s Rudin Center, which supplied the data to WNYC.

The survey data show the change in percent of commuters from 2002 to 2009.

In New York, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties have shown a great deal of growth as have counties as far away as Pike County, Pennsylvania, which had a 92 percent increase in commuters to Manhattan.

Moss says workers in New York are willing to live much further away, where housing costs are far lower, because Manhattan has some of the highest paying jobs in the country.

One out of every eight Manhattan workers commutes from more than 90 miles away.  Albany, Philadelphia, and Boston supply the greatest number of worker to New York from outside of the U.S. Census-defined metro region.

Also noteworthy: a significantly smaller number of commuters are traveling to work from Nassau County.

The MTA is currently finishing a $7.3 billion tunnel that will connect Long Island to Grand Central terminal, easing Nassau County’s commute.

However, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie two years ago cancelled a tunnel being built under the Hudson River, which would have doubled the capacity of New Jersey transit trains. Christie said the project was turning out to be too expensive.

Some 4,000 commuters travel to and from New York City by air for work -- part of a tiny but rapidly growing group of super super-commuters.


Correction: The original article stated that extreme commuting is defined by work trips that are more than 90 miles one way. That is incorrect. Extreme commutes are defined by trips more than 90 minutes in each direction. WNYC regrets the error


Comments [5]

NYPD wife from Long Beach, NY

I wish I could be one of those living in NJ but with a husband commuting to NYC. Alas, my husband is a proud NYPD cop and understandably needs to live in NY but having grown up in NJ, and wanting that kind of life for my children, sadly we cannot. His commute from Long Beach is the same as if he lived in my hometown in NJ but it's not meant to be.

Mar. 23 2012 01:08 PM

Wow, look at those "Recommended" stories from WNYC: Christie kills commuter tunnel for North Jersey. That's a way to put a pretty fine point on the subject.

After years of comprehensive studies of population change and transportation by experts and statisticians... Christie killed the ARC tunnel project out of ideological belt-tightening and an appeal to his base. Down the Shore.

Sometimes, it takes a decade for a political screw-up to be revealed (Vietnam War). Sometimes its obvious right away, but the true ramifications take a decade to sink in (Iraq War). Christie's mistake was of the latter kind.

Mar. 22 2012 12:53 PM
tacony palmyra

It's also odd that Hudson County's increase is mentioned right after the reference to "extreme commuting." Hudson County is right next to Manhattan, and depending on where in the city you work, a commuter from Hoboken or Jersey City likely has a shorter commute than someone who lives in the Outer Boroughs or Upper Manhattan!

This isn't surprising as Jersey City added a significant amount of new housing construction over the past decade and has continued to grow its downtown.

Mar. 22 2012 09:50 AM
Danny G

The colorization of the map is somewhat misleading. Look at the difference between Hudson County (the one right next to Manhattan) and Pike County (the one near Scranton, PA). What seems like "Whoa, people are moving out to the sticks!" is not quite so when you click on them and check out the numbers. WA truer story is that Pike County had an increase of about 200 commuters, whereas Hudson County had an increase of about 15,000 commuters. It seems to me that areas with shorter commutes are attracting more commuters. Perhaps there is a more nuanced way of showing this data?

Mar. 22 2012 09:17 AM

The thing that would have been a great economic benefit for NJ - Christie killed. He doesn't realize it only holds NJ back further. All those ppl who pay taxes in NJ and spend their hard earned dollars need reliable and convenient ways to get to work.

Mar. 22 2012 08:07 AM

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