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Younger Workers in Cities More Likely to Bike to Work


Younger Workers in Cities More Likely to Bike to Work


May 17 is National Bike to Work Day

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Roughly 870,000 people report commuting by bicycle — many of them young and urban residents.

May 17 is National Bike to Work Day and events are held around the country to encourage people to commute by bicycle.

The most recent American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates covering the years 2013-2017 show that about 872,000 people, or 0.6% of all workers in the United States (Table S0801), bike to work.

The ACS asks workers about their primary method of transportation to work. This provides data about national commuting patterns, including biking to work. 

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May 17 is National Bike to Work Day and events are held around the country to encourage people to commute by bicycle.

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Where is Bicycle Commuting Most Popular?

Biking to work is more common inside the principal cities of metropolitan areas (metros) than outside principal cities and outside metros.

According to 2013-2017 ACS 5-year estimates, 1.1% of commuters in principal cities travel to work by bicycle (Table S0801).

The share of workers biking to work declines away from the urban core. Outside of principal cities within metros, 0.3% of workers report biking to work. Outside of metros, 0.4% of workers commute by bicycle. 

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Who Bikes to Work?

Younger workers 16-24 years old report biking to work at greater percentages than older workers: 1.0% of workers 16-24 years old bike to work, while 0.7% of workers ages 25-44 and 0.4% of workers 45 and older commute by bicycle. 


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Young workers in cities commute by bicycle at relatively high percentages, with 1.5% of 16- to 24-year-olds in principal cities of metros biking to work.

Although older workers inside and outside of metros bike to work at lower percentages than younger workers in the same areas, workers 45 years old and older living in principal cities of metros bike to work at a higher percentage than the national average.


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More men than women commute by bicycle. Among workers in 2013-2017, about 0.8% of men (roughly 628,000) and 0.3% of women (244,000) bike to work. 


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Top Bike Commuting Cities

Below is a list of 20 places with populations over 60,000 that are among those with a higher share of people who bike to work than the national average.

Some of the cities with large populations and notably high levels of bicycle commuting include Portland, Ore. (6.5%), and Washington, D.C. (4.6%).

Several places where bicycle commuting is more common than the national average are home to large college or university populations, including Davis, Calif., where almost 20% of workers say they commute by bicycle and Boulder, Colo. (10.4%). 


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The ACS offers a range of statistics related to commuting, as well as many other characteristics about the population.

For more information about this data source and others, visit the Commuting (Journey to Work) page at Learn more about 2019 National Bike Month and Bike to Work Day and explore other trends in personal and household travel with the National Household Travel Survey

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Michael Burrows is a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division. 


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This story was posted in: Population

Tags: Population
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