County to County Commute Patterns
Commuting, the flow of workers from one area to another, promotes efficient labor markets. Workers who are willing and able to travel outside their home area will have access to a wider range and greater number of jobs. Employers can manage costs better when they have more applicants for their jobs. For example, in areas where labor force participation is low, such as retirement communities, employers can import workers to provide goods and services to their not-in-the-labor-force populations.
In 2005 the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting worker data in the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of the long-form decennial census questionnaire. Since commuting flow estimates are not included among standard ACS products, the Labor Market Information Division (LMID) developed maps based on a 2013 data report from the U.S. Census Bureau, which used ACS data collected from 2006 to 2010. The California Department of Finance’s Demographic Research Unit extracted the 2006-2010 commute flow data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s web site and has made it available for download on the Department of Finance’s ACS data page.
Prior to the creation of the ACS, LMID developed maps based on the Census 2000 data about California residents and county commuting flow estimates. Responses to the Census 2000 long-form questionnaire provide the data at the county level about California residents and how far they travel to work. The U.S. Census Bureau uses "Residence County" for where people live and "Work County" for where people work. See "County-To-County Worker Flow Files" for the Census 2000 data.
LMID developed state and county maps to show the trip origins for people who work in each county and the work destinations for people who live in each county. The county commute pattern maps show the number of commuters to and from surrounding counties. In addition, the statewide maps show the percentage and number of commuters into and out of California counties.
Statewide Commuting Patterns
County-to-County Commute Patterns
County-to-County Commute Maps (PDF)
County-to-County Commute Maps – Archives
- Statewide Commute Patterns Maps (based on 2000 Census Data)
- County Commute Patterns Maps (based on 2000 Census Data) (Zip File)
- Los Angeles County Commute Patterns (ACS 2011)
- California Dept. of Finance – American Community Survey Data
- Census Bureau County-to-County Data File – 2000 Census
- Census Bureau County-to-County Data File – 1990 Census
- Interactive Labor Force Maps