County to County Commute Patterns

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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)

Alameda Imperial Modoc San Diego Sonoma
Alpine Inyo Mono San Francisco Stanislaus
Amador Kern Monterey San Joaquin Sutter
Butte Kings Napa San Luis Obispo Tehama
Calaveras Lake Nevada San Mateo Trinity
Colusa Lassen Orange Santa Barbara Tulare
Contra Costa Los Angeles Placer Santa Clara Tuolumne
Del Norte Madera Plumas Santa Cruz Ventura
El Dorado Marin Riverside Shasta Yolo
Fresno Mariposa Sacramento Sierra Yuba
Glenn Mendocino San Benito Siskiyou  
Humboldt Merced San Bernardino Solano  

County-to-County Commute Maps – Archives

Additional Resources