Is Your Commute Killing You?

An article on Slate says spending too much time getting to work leads to divorce, obesity, back pain, and general misery. A look at some shocking statistics.


"Your commute is killing you." So says the headline to a provocative article in Slate by Annie Lowrey. Among the tidbits in her piece:
  • Swedish research: Couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce.
  • Texas: Out of 19 typical daily activities, respondents ranked commuting dead last for enjoyment.
  • Gallup: 40 percent of employees who spend more than 90 minutes getting home from work "experienced worry for much of the previous day."
  • That number falls to 28 percent for those with "negligible" commutes of 10 minutes or less.
  • Gallup: One in three workers with a 90-minute daily commute has recurrent neck or back problems.
  • Brown University: A worker with a negligible commute and a 12-hour workday is healthier than one with an hour-long commute and a 10-hour workday, even though total time consumption is the same.
  • UCLA & Cal State-Long Beach: Vehicle-miles traveled had a stronger correlation with obesity than any other lifestyle factor.
  • U.S. Census: Average one-way commuting time has steadily crept up over the course of the past five decades, and now sits at 24 minutes (although we routinely under-report the time it really takes us to get to work). About one in six workers commutes for more than 45 minutes each way.
  • U.S. Census: About 3.5 million Americans commute a whopping 90 minutes each way; their number has doubled since 1990. 

Read the article in its entirety here.

This post also appears on NRDC's Switchboard.
Image: Brian Snyder/Reuters