Commuting to Manhattan: A study of residence location trends for Manhattan workers from 2002 to 2009

Posted by Content Coordinator on Monday, April 16th, 2012



Manhattan, a global center of finance, culture, fashion and media, harnesses a workforce of 2 million people. Regionally, Manhattan is the business hub for the New York metropolitan area, with commuters entering the city every morning from the other four boroughs, New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, western Connecticut, and Long Island, and distant locations, such as eastern Pennsylvania. The workforce of Manhattan is both growing and changing. There is a growing set of high-income, service-related occupations, and an increasing number of workers are residing in the outer boroughs or to the west, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. In fact, Manhattan now has 59,000 “super-commuters” who do not live within the metropolitan region.

This report examines key trends in the residential location of Manhattan workers. We also discuss the travel, occupation, and income characteristics of Manhattan workers living in the surrounding metropolitan region. Finally, we explore the strength, resilience and vitality of Manhattan as a global economic and cultural hub in the 21st century.

Key Findings

  • More than two-thirds of Manhattan workers live in New York City as of 2009. About one-quarter of Manhattan workers live within the combined metropolitan region including Northern New Jersey, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and Western Connecticut. The remaining 6% live in regions beyond the New York area.
  • The number of Manhattan commuters from the outer boroughs has increased, particularly in Staten Island and Brooklyn, each with growth rates that exceeded 10% from 2002 to 2009. In contrast, there was only a 3% increase in within-Manhattan commuters. However, a smaller share of New York City residents of all five boroughs works in Manhattan in 2009 when compared to in 2002. Due to job growth in the outer boroughs, working residents are now less dependent on Manhattan for work opportunities.
  • Within the region, the greatest growth rate in Manhattan commuting was from Northern New Jersey, where there was a 21% increase. Most of this increase can be attributed to Hudson County, located directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Since employment opportunities have declined in most counties in North Jersey since 2002, working residents are becoming increasingly dependent on New York City for jobs. What’s more, PATH ridership hit a record high in 2011, given in the influx in
    Manhattan commuters from this region.


Read full report (PDF) here: Commuting to Manhattan

You can also view the Rudin Center’s guide to how New York moves here.

NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
“The Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU’s Wagner school aims to strengthen our understanding of all modes of transportation through research, public forums, and educational programs. The Center draws upon faculty, students, and visiting scholars at NYU.”

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