Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
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