Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go. . .

For most of us, commuting to work is a fact of life. For many, that commute includes crossing state, county, or city boundaries. To aid local planners and others in understanding the difference between day and night populations, the U.S. Census Bureau has just released commuter-adjusted population estimates from the American Community Survey.

Remember that the difference in workday and nonworking day populations will be affected by three factors: the number of workers who are employed within their county of residence, the number of workers who commute outside the county, and finally, the number of workers who commute to the county from homes in other areas. Conceptually, even though significant commuting can occur, out-commuting could equal in-commuting resulting in no change in the workday population.

You can use the visualization below to retrieve and examine these estimates. Later, we’ll add some city-level estimates.

  • Most Utah counties experience little difference in workday and non-workday populations. Summit, Salt Lake, and Grand counties show the largest percent change in daytime populations due to commuting. 
  • On the other hand, “bedroom” communities are more numerous. Counties with significant net out-commuting include Morgan (more than one-fifth of workers leave the county for employment), Tooele, Wasatch, Davis and Juab counties. 
  • In general, the most significant commuting occurs in and around the Wasatch Front. 
  • In terms of sheer numbers, Salt Lake County experiences the largest influx of net commuting. On a typical workday, the county’s daytime population swells by a whopping 69,000 individuals. 
  • Davis and Utah counties show the most significant net declines in population due to commuting—roughly 29,000 and 19,000 respectively.