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Brian McKenzie

Commuting flows are the count of workers that live in a county or MCD and work in another county or MCD.  The Census Bureau developed a series of tables of county and minor civil division (MCD)-based worker flow counts for the United States and Puerto Rico.  This is the U.S. Census Bureau’s first ACS-based release of county-level commuting flows.

To assess patterns of change for commuting flows over the 2000s, several aspects of the 2006-2010 ACS-based county-level flows are compared to their 2000 Census-based counterparts. During the 2006-2010 period, more than a quarter (27.4 percent) of U.S. workers traveled outside of their residence county for work during a typical week, compared to 26.7 percent in 2000.  Among county pairs with at least one worker in the commuting flow, about 83 percent had fewer than 100 workers in the flow, suggesting some degree of employment dispersion and a relatively large commuter shed, or geographic range of potential employment locations among households.

Each of the three largest 2006-10 flows included counties within the New York City metropolitan area. They involved workers living in Kings Co. (Brooklyn), Queens Co. (Queens), and Bronx Co. (The Bronx) travelling to New York Co. (Manhattan) for work. The flow from Los Angeles Co., CA to Orange Co., CA, and its reciprocal flow from Orange Co. to Los Angeles Co. represented the 4th and 5th largest flows, followed by three county combinations within the Houston, TX or Dallas, TX metro areas. Fewer than 0.1 percent of all U.S. workers reported a workplace location outside of the United States in 2006-10. Among them, about 17 percent reported working in Iraq, about 15 percent in Mexico, about 9 percent in Canada, and about 5 percent in Afghanistan.

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