Yet another consequence of gentrification
A recent survey released by Citi found that on average, round trip commutes for those who were employed full time in the U.S. took about 45 minutes and costs around $12 per day. But for both cost and time there were enormous variations. In metro areas like New York and Chicago, average round-trip commute times were longer than an hour, and in Los Angeles the daily cost of commuting averaged about $14—that’s more than $3,500 each year. Nearly two-thirds of commuters said that the cost of getting to work had increased over the past five years, with about 30 percent saying that their cost of commuting had gone up substantially.
Most unfair of all: When it came to the most extreme commutes in terms of price, the survey found that about 11 percent of respondents who said they paid $21 or more for their daily commute made less than $35,000. For those in the highest income bracket—making $75,000 or more—only 8 percent had such pricey commutes.
Though the Citi survey included a small sample size of about 1,000 respondents, some of the issues brought up by these findings are corroborated by other recent research in this area. According to Natalie Holmes and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution the shifting locations of impoverished populations is a major contributor to the problem. “Between 2000 and 2012, poverty grew and re-concentrated in parts of metropolitan areas that were farther from jobs,particularly in suburbs, which are now home to more than half of the poor residents of the country’s 100 largest metro areas,” they write.
More concentrated suburban poverty, which is made worse by decreasing job opportunities, and longer, more expensive commutes can be seriously detrimental to social mobility, as recent studies have documented. And that’s not just bad for current residents of these impoverished communities: It also hinders the ability of their children to get to better schools, extracurricular activities, and to slowly but surely build better lives for themselves.