Visualizing the Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities
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Visualizing the Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities

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Visualizing the Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities

Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

The average person is awake for 15.5 hours per day, but once you subtract hours committed to work, eating, chores, personal care, and errands, there’s only so little much free time leftover.

That’s why the amount of time spent commuting, either in a car or via transit, can be a massive difference maker towards a person’s quality of life.

The Average Commute

Throughout the United States, the average commute time works out to about 26 minutes one-way.

However, as today’s infographic from TitleMax shows, the average commute varies considerably between individual states, and also between major cities as well.

In South Dakota, a state with fewer than one million people, congestion is not a problem for most. The state is home to the shortest average commute in the country at just 16.6 minutes one-way.

Meanwhile, as you may imagine, New York is the polar opposite of South Dakota for getting to work. The Empire State has the longest average commute in the country, which is double the length at 33.6 minutes.

Commutes by City

Every city is different, which means that data can have high amounts of variability within each state.

New York again is a great example for this: NYC has the longest average commute in the nation at 34.7 minutes, but go upstate and Buffalo actually has the shortest average commute for all major cities at 20.3 minutes per trip.

Here are the 10 shortest commutes in the country, for major cities:

RankCityState or DistrictAvg. Commute (Mins)
#1BuffaloNY20.3
#2ColumbusOH21.8
#3HartfordCT22.3
#4MilwaukeeWI22.3
#5Las VegasNV22.5
#6MemphisTN22.5
#7Virginia BeachVA22.6
#8San DiegoCA23.0
#9West Palm BeachFL23.0
#10CincinnatiOH23.2

Many people living in places like Buffalo or San Diego are able to hop to their place of the work in 20 minutes or less, giving them a little extra flexibility with their free time in comparison to bigger cities in the country.

Here are the 10 longest commutes in the country, for major cities:

RankCityState or DistrictAvg. Commute (Mins)
#1New York CityNY34.7
#2Long IslandNY33.3
#3WashingtonDC32.8
#4NewarkNJ31.1
#5ChicagoIL30.8
#6BostonMA30.4
#7OaklandCA29.9
#8Riverside-San BernardinoCA29.8
#9BaltimoreMD29.4
#10AtlantaGA29.2

While it’s surprising to see that Los Angeles didn’t make it onto the list of cities with ultra-long commutes, the largest city in California does have the distinction of being the most congested city in the world.

It’s there that citizens spend an unfortunate 104 hours each year stuck in traffic jams.

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Misc

Visualizing the Odds of Dying from Various Accidents

This infographic shows you the odds of dying from a variety of accidents, including car crashes, bee stings, and more.

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Infographic: The Odds of Dying from Various Accidents

Fatal accidents account for a significant number of deaths in the U.S. every year. For example, nearly 43,000 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2021.

Without the right context, however, it can be difficult to properly interpret these figures.

To help you understand your chances, we’ve compiled data from the National Safety Council, and visualized the lifetime odds of dying from various accidents.

Data and Methodology

The lifetime odds presented in this graphic were estimated by dividing the one-year odds of dying by the life expectancy of a person born in 2020 (77 years).

Additionally, these numbers are based on data from the U.S., and likely differ in other countries.

Type of AccidentLifetime odds of dying (1 in #)
Motor vehicle accident101
Complications of medical and surgical care798
Alcohol poisoning1,606
Accidental building fire1,825
Choking on food2,745
Drowning in swimming pool5,782
Sunstroke6,368
Accidental firearm discharge7,998
Drowning10,386
Airplane accident11,756
Bee or wasp sting57,825
Dog attack69,016
Lightning strike138,849

For comparison’s sake, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,000,000. In other words, you are 4000x more likely to die by a lightning strike over your lifetime than to win the Powerball lottery.

Continue reading below for further context on some of these accidents.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S., with a 1 in 101 chance of dying. This is quite a common way of dying, especially when compared to something like bee stings (1 in 57,825).

Unfortunately, a major cause of vehicle deaths is impaired driving. The CDC reports that 32 Americans are killed every day in crashes involving alcohol, which equates to one death every 45 minutes.

For further context, consider this: 30% of all traffic-related deaths in 2020 involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drowning

The odds of drowning in a swimming pool (1 in 5,782) are significantly higher than those of drowning in general (1 in 10,386). According to the CDC, there are 4,000 fatal drownings every year, which works out to 11 deaths per day.

Drowning also happens to be a leading cause of death for children. It is the leading cause for kids aged 1-4, and second highest cause for kids aged 5-14.

A rather surprising fact about drowning is that 80% of fatalities are male. This has been attributed to higher rates of alcohol use and risk-taking behaviors.

Accidental Firearm Discharge

Lastly, let’s look at accidental firearm deaths, which have lifetime odds of 1 in 7,998. That’s higher than the odds of drowning (general), as well as dying in an airplane accident.

This shouldn’t come as a major surprise, since the U.S. has the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. More importantly, these odds highlight the importance of properly securing one’s firearms, as well as learning safe handling practices.

As a percentage of total gun-related deaths (45,222 in 2020), accidental shootings represent a tiny 1%. The two leading causes are suicide (54%) and homicide (43%).

Interested in learning more about death? Revisit one of our most popular posts of all time: Visualizing the History of Pandemics.

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