Nation's Longest Commutes Reside in NYC

February 26, 2004 ( - When Frank Sinatra sang "New York, New York" he said if "you can make it here, you can make anywhere," he may have meant make it to work.

The Big Apple topped the list for the longest average commuting time. Over the course of a year, the average New York City resident spends an average of about one full week a year getting to work – far and away the longest commute time in the nation among large cities, according to a new ranking of American Community Survey data released by the US Census Bureau.

Examined another way, residents of Gotham City take an average of 38.4 minutes to get to work each day – more than five minutes longer than Chicagoans, who face a commute of 32.7 minutes. Other large cities – those with populations of 250,000 or more – with long commutes include:

  • Philadelphia (30.3 minutes)
  • Riverside, California (29.8 minutes)
  • Baltimore (29.7 minutes)
  • Washington, D.C. (29.4 minutes)
  • San Francisco (29.2 minutes)
  • Oakland, California (29.1 minutes)
  • Los Angeles (28.5 minutes)
  • Boston (28.2 minutes).

New York also topped the charts by county and state travel times. Of the 231 counties ranked in the study, four of New York City’s five boroughs – Bronx (41.8 minutes), Queens (41.4 minutes), Staten Island (41.2 minutes) and Brooklyn (39.9 minutes) – have the longest commute times by far. Among states, New York was first, with a typical commuting time of 30.8 minutes, followed by Maryland (30 minutes), New Jersey (28.3 minutes), Illinois (26.7 minutes) and California (26.6 minutes).

Yet for all of this talk of long commutes, the report found approximately two-thirds of states have shorter home-to-work times than the national average of 24.4 minutes. Leading the list for short commutes was North Dakota (14.8 minutes), followed by South Dakota (15 minutes), Nebraska (16.1 minutes) and Montana (16.7 minutes). By large city, the shortest commutes can be found in Wichita, Kansas (16.5 minutes), Tulsa, Oklahoma (16.8 minutes) and Omaha, Nebraska. (17.3 minutes).

Curious where your commute sits on the list? A detailed list of city commute times is available here .