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Census Bureau Reports 265,000 Workers Commute into San Francisco County, Calif., Each Day


Census Bureau Reports 265,000 Workers Commute into San Francisco County, Calif., Each Day

Release Number CB13-R.22

San Francisco County, Calif., 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 San Francisco County, 265,164 live outside the county, according to 2006-2010 estimates from the American Community Survey. For example, 75,047 workers commute in from San Mateo County, 71,861 from Alameda County and 47,861 from Contra Costa County.

Meanwhile, 102,709 residents of San Francisco County leave the county for work, with 43,423 going to San Mateo County, 22,009 to Alameda County and 19,087 to Santa Clara County.

"It is well known that San Francisco County draws a lot of commuters to work. The detailed information in the American Community Survey tells us where San Francisco 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 San Francisco County travel to work and how long it takes them to get there.

Means of Transportation

  • In 2011, 37.6 percent of workers in San Francisco County drove to work alone, compared with 76.4 percent nationally.
  • Meanwhile, 7.3 percent of San Francisco County workers carpooled in 2011, while 9.7 percent in the nation carpooled to work.
  • In 2011, 31.6 percent of all workers in San Francisco County used public transportation -- excluding taxicab -- to get to their job, compared with 5.0 percent in the nation as a whole.
  • About 3.4 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 San Francisco County was 29.6 minutes. The average commute nationally was 25.5 minutes.
  • About 10.2 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 San Francisco 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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