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Census Bureau Reports 181,000 Workers Commute into Mecklenburg County, N.C., Each Day


Census Bureau Reports 181,000 Workers Commute into Mecklenburg County, N.C., Each Day

Release Number CB13-R.15

Mecklenburg County, N.C., has among the highest number of commuters coming from another county in the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today in new estimates released from the American Community Survey. Nationally, 27.4 percent of workers commute outside the county where they live.

Among workers in Mecklenburg County, 181,198 live outside the county, according to 2006-2010 estimates from the American Community Survey. For example, 37,442 workers commute in from Union County, 29,013 from York County, S.C. and 28,916 from Cabarrus County. The latter two were not significantly different from each other.

Meanwhile, 52,543 residents of Mecklenburg County leave the county for work, with 9,678 going to Cabarrus County, 9,197 to York County and 7,359 to Union County. The first two were not significantly different from each other.

"It is well known that Mecklenburg County draws a lot of commuters to work. The detailed information in the American Community Survey tells us where Mecklenburg County workers are coming from, where its residents work, and how its commuting patterns compare to those of other large counties," said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau statistician who studies commuting. "This information shapes our understanding of the boundaries of local and regional economies, as people and goods move across the nation's transportation networks."

The American Community Survey also provides annual estimates about how commuters in Mecklenburg County travel to work and how long it takes them to get there.

Means of Transportation

  • In 2011, 78.2 percent of workers in Mecklenburg County drove to work alone, compared with 76.4 percent nationally.
  • Meanwhile, 9.3 percent of Mecklenburg County workers carpooled in 2011, while 9.7 percent in the nation carpooled to work. The percentages were not significantly different from one another.
  • In 2011, 3.6 percent of all workers in Mecklenburg County used public transportation -- excluding taxicab -- to get to their job, compared with 5.0 percent in the nation as a whole.
  • About 0.1 percent of all workers in the county biked to work in 2011, compared with 0.6 percent nationally. 

Travel Time to Work

  • In 2011, the average one-way commute to work for people living in Mecklenburg County was 24.4 minutes. The average commute nationally was 25.5 minutes.
  • About 4.5 percent of all workers had a commute of 60 minutes or more in 2011, compared with 8.1 percent in the nation as a whole.

View more commuting statistics for Mecklenburg County online: //

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from town and city planners to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation's people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said [PDF - 3.9 MB] such information would allow Congress to "adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community," and over the decades, allow America "an opportunity of marking the progress of the society."



Melanie Deal
Public Information Office

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