Commuting in the Chicago Area: Emerging Trends

As part of the decennial census, the Census Bureau collects information on where people live and work.  This report will show that from 1970 to 2000 the Chicago area experienced an evolutionary change in economic activity and traffic.  Several existing trends were extended, some new ones emerged while others demonstrated a marked shift.

This report provides a brief overview of the most noteworthy changes in commuting patterns since 1970. It highlights a substantial decline in bedroom communities. All of the collar counties experienced major increases in commutes to the county. DuPage County experienced a growth of more than 100,000 commuters to the county (23%) while Lake County registered a lower growth in numbers (81,000) but a higher percentage change (33%). Now, they both import more commuters than they export. They are no longer places with stereotypical bedroom communities.

More importantly, the growth in population now outpaced the growth in commuters for the first time in at least 40 years. Specifically the alarms raised in the 1970s and 1980s about major increases in congestion due to expected increases in population have not materialized. Still congestion has increased with longer commutes, perhaps reflecting the increasing specialization in our labor force resulting in an expanded geographic pool from which workers are drawn.

Please click on the link below to download the complete “Commuting in the Chicago Area: Emerging Trends” report.

Commuting in the Chicago Area Emerging Trends


Author / Presenter:

Siim Sööt, Ed Christopher and Joseph DiJohn

Presentation Date / Publication Date: