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  5. Supercommuting almost 5 hours a day has become much more popular in expensive cities like New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC

Supercommuting almost 5 hours a day has become much more popular in expensive cities like New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC

Juliana Kaplan,Noah Sheidlower,Eliza Relman   

Supercommuting almost 5 hours a day has become much more popular in expensive cities like New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC
  • Supercommuting is on the rise, with more workers traveling over 75 miles to their jobs.
  • Hybrid work and rising urban housing costs have pushed workers to live farther from cities.

Americans are on their way to work — and they probably still have a long way to go.

New research first reported by The Wall Street Journal shows that more workers are supercommuting, meaning they're traveling more than 75 miles each way for work. That can add up to nearly five hours a day spent commuting — a sacrifice more workers are willing to make as hybrid work expands the area they can call home.

The number of Americans making this long trek to work has skyrocketed since the pandemic. Using GPS data from car data software company INRIX including about 200,000 trips per city among big US metros, Stanford University economists Nick Bloom and Alex Finan determined that the share of supercommutes of at least 75 miles each way increased by 32% post-pandemic — representing 2.9% of total trips. Some trips, they found, are as long as five hours each way, with some starting their commutes at 3 a.m.

They further found that across the country's 10 largest cities, the share of commutes over 40 miles each way increased over the last few years, representing 18.5% of trips. That trend was consistent across each weekday.

Bloom and Finan compared data from between November 2019 and February 2020 to November 2023 to February 2024. They defined commute trips as starting outside downtown and ending in the downtown area between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Bloom and Finan noted that because people are going into the office less — with many having moved out of cities to the suburbs — supercommuting has become more popular. The Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, created by WFH Research, determined that working from home increased about fivefold from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic.

One silver lining of longer commutes is that trips are often faster than a comparable pre-pandemic trip, as working from home indirectly lessens traffic. Traffic speeds increased about 10% over this time period, Bloom and Finan found.

Some cities have more supercommuters than others. New York City experienced an 89% surge in supercommuting, from 1.9% to 3.6% of all trips. Los Angeles has seen a 20% increase in commutes at least 35 miles long, while Washington, DC, has seen a 100% surge in supercommuters. Phoenix, Arizona — a city that's seen a surge of new residents in recent years and, as a result, soaring housing costs — has also seen supercommuting increase by 57%.

The spike in supercommuting in some of the country's most expensive cities is in part due to the rise of remote work and the demand for more space. When COVID-19 shut down much of the country, millions of people were suddenly living their entire lives in their cramped apartments, and demand for larger homes shot up.

And since there aren't enough family-sized apartments in urban areas to keep up with demand, many families with younger kids fled big cities during the pandemic, according to a report from the Economic Innovation Group. Previous data from Bloom and payroll company Gusto found that workers ages 30 to 34 had more than doubled their distance from work compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Bloom told BI that they don't have a direct demographic breakdown of supercommuters, but noted people working from home — which is driving the trend — tend "to be professionals and managers." That means higher-income workers in their late 20s to early 50s and people with kids.

"So have in mind a college graduate with two young kids that wants to leave NY apartment to move out to the suburbs 1.5 hours away to get a back-yard and local schools," Bloom said.

Rising housing costs in the urban core are also pushing many households to the farther reaches of the suburbs. Some of the former city dwellers who decamped for the suburbs when the pandemic hit have come to regret their move as their employers have begun calling them back to the office.

But others are pleased with their supercommuting lifestyles. Kyle Rice, a 38-year-old EMS provider who lives in Willmington, Delaware, supercommutes two hours each way to New York City, costing him $1,510 each month. Still, he told BI the lower cost of living in Delaware is worth the hassle, as he makes six figures at his New York job.

Are you a supercommuter or considering becoming one? Contact these reporters at,, and

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