Fifty nine percent of American workers enjoy the daily commute to and from work - and most would choose a nicer house and a longer commute
With the onset of the financial crisis the decades long migration of Americans from cities to suburbs slowed to a crawl, as families stayed put and a new generation of Americans came of age and were increasingly likely to say that they wanted to live in urban areas. Since then, the population growth of American cities has outstripped the suburbs. The idea of suburbia itself has come under increasing attack in many circles, often for the energy intensive nature of a life that depends on car ownership to get to around and commute to work.
YouGov's latest research shows however that the death of suburbia may be far off as most Americans (56%) say that they'd rather have a nicer home and a longer commute than have a less desirable home and a short commute. Only 21% say that they want to live closer to work even at the price of a less desirable residence.
One area where the suburbs have overtaken cities, however, is poverty: for the first time more impoverished Americans live in suburbs (16.5 million) than in cities (13.5 million). Despite this growth, the result of higher residential prices in cities and booms in sprawling southern cities, the poorest Americans are the least likely to say that they would prefer a long commute and a desirable home to a short commute and a less desirable home. 53% of Americans with an annual household income under $40,000 are happier with a longer commute, compared to 69% who have an income over $80,000.
A big reason why Americans wouldn't mind a long commute is probably that most actually enjoy their current journey to work. 59% of Americans who commute to work report enjoying their commute, while only 29% say that they don't enjoy it. People in the Midwest (69%) are the most likely to say that they enjoy their commutes, while people in the Northeast (50%) are the least likely. Unsurprisingly, people in the Northeast also tend to have the longest commutes in the country, hitting 48 minutes on average in New York City.
For the vast majority of working Americans (75%) commuting means driving, with only 14% taking public transport to work and 8% walking.