Southern California is home to the worst commutes in America, data suggests 

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

It’s no secret that Southern California freeways can get extremely backed up – especially during rush hour – and new data suggests SoCal workers have some of the longest, most grueling commutes in the nation. 

The study, conducted by business resource LLC.org, analyzed commute times for full-time workers across 530 occupations in America’s 170 most populous cities. 

Flight attendants, LLC.org found, have the longest average commute of any worker in the U.S., with many having a roundtrip journey that lasts nearly two hours, and that’s not counting all the time they spend in the airport and on the plane.

“Overall, the average roundtrip commute for flight attendants is about an hour and 57 minutes,” researchers said. “Aircraft pilots and flight engineers rank close with an average roundtrip commute of one hour and 47 minutes…elsewhere in the travel industry, transportation security screeners rank among the top 25 occupations with the worst commutes, averaging 70 minutes roundtrip.” 

Motorists in freeway traffic head north out of downtown Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The vast majority of the 25 occupations with the longest commute times are blue-collar jobs, the study found, such as mining machine operators (90 minutes); elevator and escalator installers/repairers (88 minutes); iron and steel workers (84 minutes) and drywall and ceiling tile installers (76 minutes). 

Media and communications workers rank 17th with a 72-minute commute.

When broken down by city, Southern California cities make up half of the top ten with the highest commute times in the U.S., including the top spot: Palmdale. 

The average roundtrip commute for a Palmdale resident is just over 90 minutes, LLC.org said, which equates to roughly 371 hours per year, or about 15 and a half days in total. 

In fifth on LLC.org’s longest commute list is Moreno Valley; although considerably less than Palmdale, Moreno Valley commuters still spend an average of an hour and ten minutes commuting, which is comparable to spending 11.9 days out of the year driving to and from work. 

Directly behind Moreno Valley is Corona, where the 68-minute roundtrip commute is good for sixth-longest in the nation. The two other SoCal cities in the top ten are Fontana (66-minute average roundtrip commute) and Palmdale’s twin city Lancaster (65-minute average roundtrip commute). 

The top 50 cities with the worst commutes in America can be viewed in the table below: 

RankCityStateRoundtrip commute Annual commute 1.PalmdaleCalifornia91 minutes371.58 hrs. (15.5 days)2.New York CityNew York81.40 minutes332.38 hrs. (13.8 days)3.Jersey CityNew Jersey74.80 minutes305.43 hrs. (12.7 days)4.YonkersNew York72.80 minutes297.27 hrs. (12.4 days)5.Moreno ValleyCalifornia70 minutes285.83 hrs. (11.9 days)6.CoronaCalifornia68.40 minutes279.30 hrs. (11.6 days)7.ChicagoIllinois67 minutes273.58 hrs. (11.4 days)8.FontanaCalifornia66.60 minutes271.95 hrs. (11.3 days)9.LancasterCalifornia65.80 minutes268.68 hrs. (11.2 days)10.StocktonCalifornia65.40 minutes267.05 hrs. (11.1 days)11.Rancho CucamongaCalifornia65.40 minutes267.05 hrs. (11.1 days)12.HollywoodFlorida65.40 minutes267.05 hrs. (11.1 days)13.Santa ClaritaCalifornia64 minutes261.33 hrs. (10.9 days)14.PhiladelphiaPennsylvania63 minutes257.25 hrs. (10.7 days)15.PomonaCalifornia62.80 minutes256.43 hrs. (10.7 days)16.NewarkNew Jersey62.80 minutes256.43 hrs. (10.7 days)17.OntarioCalifornia62.40 minutes254.80 hrs. (10.6 days)18.Elk GroveCalifornia62.40 minutes254.80 hrs. (10.6 days)19.BostonMassachusetts61 minutes249.08 hrs. (10.4 days)20.GarlandTexas60.40 minutes246.63 hrs. (10.3 days)21.Los AngelesCalifornia60.40 minutes246.63 hrs. (10.3 days)22.Washington, D.C.— 60.20 minutes245.82 hrs. (10.2 days)23.HaywardCalifornia60 minutes245.00 hrs. (10.2 days)24.Pembroke PinesFlorida59.60 minutes243.37 hrs. (10.1 days)25.Chula VistaCalifornia59.60 minutes243.37 hrs. (10.1 days)26.RiversideCalifornia59.60 minutes243.37 hrs. (10.1 days)27.Cape CoralFlorida59.40 minutes242.55 hrs. (10.1 days)28.OaklandCalifornia59.20 minutes241.73 hrs. (10.1 days)29.San FranciscoCalifornia59 minutes240.92 hrs. (10 days)30.Long BeachCalifornia58.80 minutes240.10 hrs. (10 days)31.EscondidoCalifornia58 minutes236.83 hrs. (9.9 days)32.MiamiFlorida58 minutes236.83 hrs. (9.9 days)33.Grand PrairieTexas57.60 minutes235.20 hrs. (9.8 days)34.BaltimoreMaryland57.60 minutes235.20 hrs. (9.8 days)35.HialeahFlorida57.40 minutes234.38 hrs. (9.8 days)36.AlexandriaVirginia57.40 minutes234.38 hrs. (9.8 days)37.Port St. LucieFlorida57 minutes232.75 hrs. (9.7 days)38.ModestoCalifornia57 minutes232.75 hrs. (9.7 days)39.Huntington BeachCalifornia57 minutes232.75 hrs. (9.7 days)40.San BernardinoCalifornia56.20 minutes229.48 hrs. (9.6 days)41.Garden GroveCalifornia56 minutes228.67 hrs. (9.5 days)42.SalinasCalifornia55.80 minutes227.85 hrs. (9.5 days)43.AuroraColorado55.80 minutes227.85 hrs. (9.5 days)44.Fort LauderdaleFlorida55.40 minutes226.22 hrs. (9.4 days)45.AuroraIllinois55.20 minutes225.40 hrs. (9.4 days)46.FriscoTexas55.20 minutes225.40 hrs. (9.4 days)47.GlendaleArizona54.80 minutes223.77 hrs. (9.3 days)48.HoustonTexas54.60 minutes222.95 hrs. (9.3 days)49.FremontCalifornia54.20 minutes221.32 hrs. (9.2 days)50.AnaheimCalifornia54 minutes220.50 hrs. (9.2 days)Source: LLC.org via U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey | NOTE: Cities in bold are located in Southern California

According to LLC.org, commute times are increasing across the country for workers aged 16 and older. Part of that, they say, can be attributed to the decline in Americans who work from home since the COVID-19 pandemic ended. 

“Whether they maintain a hybrid work schedule or work in person at their workplace, this decrease in remote work has led to a spike in commuters,” researchers noted. “Year-over-year, the average roundtrip commute has increased by 392 minutes, which is roughly seven hours more per year.” 

The full study, which includes a breakdown of commute times by occupation, can be read here

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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