The time Americans spend commuting each day is getting longer, up from less than 44 minutes a day three decades ago to right around 52 minutes today. Add these numbers up and the average commuter spends nine days getting to and from work every year. Commuting alone by car not only sucks up our time, it also takes a huge toll on our collective health, is one of the most miserable things we can do in life, and generates substantial costs, both social and economic.
Our commutes are clearly a function of where we live: People who live in big, dense cities like New York are much more likely to walk, bike, or take mass transit to work than those who live in more sprawling metro areas and need to drive. But a new analysis from the real estate site Trulia identifies another key factor that bears on our commutes: whether we rent or own our homes. The analysis is based on a Harris Poll survey of over 2,000 Americans as well as data from the 2014 American Community Survey.