When people comparison shop between cities one of the most important factors they consider is how long it takes to get to work. A new study out of the University of Minnesota ranked 51 cities in America by the number of jobs reachable within 60 minutes of driving. The calculations were weighted towards closer-in jobs—so, a job that could be reached within 10 minutes counted more than a job that could be reached in 50 minutes.
For Boston, the results were mixed. It ranked 9th in the country in terms of the total number of jobs that can be reached in less than an hour of driving. It’s a solid result but not overly surprising, given that Boston is also one of the most populous metro areas in the country, so there are simply a lot of jobs around here (the top cities were, in order: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis).
Although Boston has lots of jobs within a feasible commuting range, those jobs are overall less accessible than they could be. When you look at the number of jobs that can be reached within 10 minutes of driving, Boston ranks 20th, just ahead of Rochester, New York. And the accessibility of jobs in Boston has been getting worse. From 2000-2010 Boston ranked with Grand Rapids, Raleigh, and Detroit as the four cities whose jobs accessibility deteriorated the most. This decline could be because new jobs in the Boston-area are being created in more far-flung locations, or because traffic conditions have been getting worse over time so that formerly accessible jobs are now taking more time to reach.
Regardless of the cause, if you’re mobile and looking for work, you might be interested to know that the cities whose job accessibility is expanding the fastest are Jacksonville, Miami, and Houston.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.