Mar 11, 2024 - Business

Americans live further away from work than ever before: chart

Average distance from work, by earnings group
Data: Gusto, Stanford University and ITAM; Map: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

The distance the average American lives from their workplace has soared from 10 miles in 2019 to 27 miles at the end of 2023, per new data from Gusto.

Why it matters: When we had to go into the office every day, the length of the commute mattered more.

  • Today, more than 1 in 20 workers lives more than 50 miles from their job, up from fewer than 1 in 100 pre-pandemic.

Between the lines: Higher earners are much more likely to live far from work, with Americans making more than $250,000 per year having a 42-mile work-live gap (one-way, as the crow flies) on average.

  • 7.66% of those rich workers live more than 100 miles from the office, up from 0.68% pre-pandemic.

Reality check: A lot of the increase in the mean distance disappears if you look at the median or mode distance.

  • Most commutes haven't changed much, but there's been a massive increase in people living more than 500 miles from work. That cohort is now 5.2% of earners over $250,000, and 3.2% of earners between $100,000 and $250,000.
  • A relatively small number of such folk can end up skewing the mean distance for everybody.

The bottom line: If you're well-paid enough to afford a pied-à-terre, or a hotel room near the office, you can choose a primary residence almost anywhere you like.

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