shutterstock_102793319Here in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, we are certainly not strangers to insane traffic and lengthy commute times, even for those who live close to work. However, commute times aren’t just high in LA, according to Trulia economists. Commutes are on the rise nationwide.

Between 2006 and 2014 there was a 5-percent increase in renters nationwide, so Trulia recently conducted a study to discover if there is data to support the correlation between the rise of renters and the shift in commute times. They found that the average renter spends about 1.5 minutes less per day commuting than the average homeowner in 43 of the 50 major cities.commute

While combing through the data collected by the Census’ 2014 American Community Survey, the Trulia team also discovered which of those top 50 metropolitan areas have the shortest and longest commute times. With LA’s notoriously busy freeways and city streets, the city would seem like an obvious choice for a high ranking, but it didn’t make Trulia’s top 10. The rankings were based on average commute in minutes for renters and homeowners, and LA ranked 14 with an average commute time of about 27 minutes.

Here are some quick facts from the study:

  • Commute times in the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas have risen steadily, jumping to an average of 27.2 minutes in 2014 from 26.4 minutes in 2009.
  • Americans ranked short commute times to work or proximity to public transportation second only to crime rate when it came to determining where to rent or buy a home.
  • Working millennials who are renters valued short commute times or proximity to public transportation more so than low crime rates.


Cities With the Worst Commute Times
# U.S. Metro Average Commute (Minutes) Average Renter Commute (Minutes) Average Homeowners Commute (Minutes) Shorter Commute Time for Renters
1 New York, NY 34.7 34.8 34.8 NO
2 Long Island, NY 33 29.3 32.8 YES
3 Washington, DC 32.8 30.6 33.1 YES
4 Newark, NJ 31.1 28.7 31.3 YES
5 Chicago, IL 30.8 30.8 30.4 NO
6 Boston, MA 30.4 30.2 30.7 YES
7 Oakland, CA 29.9 28.1 29.9 YES
8 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 29.8 27.1 30.9 YES
9 Baltimore, MD 29.4 28.6 29.1 YES
10 Atlanta, GA 29.2 27.4 29.4 YES
14 Los Angeles, CA 27.6 27.8 28.4 YES
Note: Census’ 2014 American Community Survey


Overall, 15.9 percent of Americans said that a short commute is an important factor in choosing a home, according to the US Census Survey. For renters specifically, that number goes up to 18.3 percent, and 22 percent of millennials prefer a short commute above any other factors when choosing a home.