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Economy

Why Americans Live Farther From Work Than They Did a Decade Ago

A new Brookings report finds that jobs have sprawled outside city centers and away from poor and minority suburbs.
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People living in the largest U.S. metros have fewer jobs in their vicinity than they did 15 years ago, a new Brookings Institution report finds, and this is especially true for residents of low-income and minority neighborhoods. Overall, the number of jobs within the median commuting distance fell by 7 percent between 2000 and 2012 in these areas.

Where jobs are located matters, says Natalie Holmes, who co-authored the report with Elizabeth Kneebone. People who live in or near areas where jobs are concentrated enjoy certain benefits. They are more likely to have a job and tend to have shorter spells of joblessness, for instance. The duration of joblessness in black, female, and older workers, in particular, depends heavily on whether or not they live near jobs. Residents of job-rich regions also tend to enjoy better public services and more retail options.