The List: The Commuting Habits of New Jersey Workers

According to census data, it takes longer for commuters in the Garden State to get to work than the national average

list button
New Jersey is a small state with almost 4.3 million workers, many of whom have long, congested commutes to and from their jobs each day.

There are many reasons for the state’s rush-hour traffic jams, including densely populated urban areas; suburban bedroom communities with lower-cost housing but few jobs; and an overtaxed road and transit network.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey help paint a portrait of New Jersey’s commuters. Here’s a snapshot for 2015:

1. The typical worker is 44.1 years old.

Close to two-thirds of public-transportation users were age 44 and under, while just over half of those who drove alone were age 45 and older.

2. More than seven in 10 workers drive alone to their jobs.

That puts 3.1 million cars on the state’s roads every weekday. Still, it’s lower than the national average of 76.6 percent driving alone to work.

3. Almost 500,000 New Jerseyans commute via public transit.

That’s 11.6 percent of the workforce, more than double the national average of 5.2 percent.

4. The median earnings for all workers totaled $42,161.

Those using buses, trains, and other public transportation had much higher earnings — $51,823.

5. Fewer than one in 10 New Jerseyans had a daily commute of less than 10 minutes.

Nationally, 12.6 percent of workers spend less than 10 minutes a day commuting.

6. The average New Jersey worker commutes 31.3 minutes each day.

That works out to about five minutes longer than the national average.

7. More than 15 percent of New Jerseyans,

or about 625,000 people, spend an hour or more getting to and from work. That compares with just 9 percent of workers across the country who have long commutes.

8. Less than a third of New Jerseyans live and work in the same town,

as defined by the census. Nationally, almost four in 10 people work in the same place where they live.

9. Slightly more than half of Garden State commuters

work in the same county they live in. The national average is close to three-quarters.

10. With so many New Jerseyans close to New York and Pennsylvania,

nearly 14 percent of all workers have jobs out of state. That’s the fifth highest of all the states. The national average is less than 4 percent.

We’re in this together
For a better-informed future. Support our nonprofit newsroom.
Donate to NJ Spotlight