Commuting (or not) in 2018: More People Working from Home in the Portland Metropolitan Area

by Amy Vander Vliet

October 4, 2019

More people than ever are working from home in the Portland Metropolitan Area. Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that 103,000 people (+/- 5,600) had no commute in 2018; they accounted for about 8 percent of the region’s workers. That’s a whopping 48 percent increase over just five years earlier, and ranks us fifth among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Raleigh ranks first, with 9 percent of its workers laboring from the comfort of home, followed by Austin, Denver, and Sarasota. Nationally, 5 percent work from home.

For those who left home for work, it’s no surprise that most traveled by car. At 86 percent, the share is about the same as five years ago and slightly lower than the average across large metros. It might also not come as a shock that many Portlanders turn to bikes for their daily commute – about 25,000. While cyclists account for slightly over 2 percent of workers, which ranks us second in the nation behind Madison, they haven’t seen their ranks increase significantly over the past five years.

The average travel time to work increased by about a minute over the past five years, from 25.7 to 26.9 minutes (+4.7%), reflecting the effects of our rapidly growing population and increased congestion on our roadways. If it’s any consolation to those stuck on the Marquam Bridge, Seattle and the Bay Area saw their commutes increase twice as fast as Portland’s.

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