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More California employees are commuting 90 minutes to work — here’s how SLO County stacks up

An increasing number of Californians face commutes well over an hour-long to reach jobs in larger cities — but most San Luis Obispo County employees spend much less time traveling to work, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and an Apartment List analysis.

In 2017, 41 out of 58 counties saw at least moderate growth in the share of the workforce traveling longer than 90 minutes to get the work compared to 8 years prior.

In San Luis Obispo County, only about 2.4% of workers are super commuters — that’s up from 1.8% in 2009, according to the Apartment List.

However, most workers — about 75% — spend less than five minutes to 29 minutes traveling to their jobs, according to Census Bureau data.

About a quarter of workers commute half an hour or more, with just 5% traveling an hour or more to their jobs.

Contra Costa, Solano, San Benito, Alameda, Merced and Mono counties gained the most super commuters between 2009 and 2017.

More people are driving longer distances due to a lack of housing in dense cities where many would have lived and worked a decade ago, according to the Apartment List. Now, many are tied to jobs in those cities but cannot afford to live there.

As a result, more people, particularly in the Bay Area, are spending more time driving back and forth.

San Joaquin County leads the state with 8.8 percent of its workforce traveling 90-minute-plus commutes. The national average is 2.9 percent.

In the Sacramento region, El Dorado County had the largest share of super commuters, 4.3 percent.

Apartment List also found that ”super commuting is common in areas closer to the urban core, where workers who rely on public transit may face rides of 90 minutes or more, even if they’re not traveling great distances in terms of mileage.”

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.
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