Long Way Home: Census Details Texas Commutes

Suburbs remain the fastest growing slices of Texas, but significant chunks of their populations work outside their home counties, new U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

At least a third of Texas workers living in most of the suburbs surrounding the state’s five largest cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth — commuted out of their home counties for work in 2013. And some suburban counties saw more than half their workforce heading for jobs in the core city, the data shows.

(The census data includes workers 16 years and older who commuted to work the week before the annual survey was conducted in 2013.)

 

With workers looking for affordable housing in the suburbs, the commuting patterns reflect the fast-paced population growth in those communities — some among the fastest growing in the country.

“What you see is basically the same patterns that you see with population growth,” said state demographer Lloyd Potter, adding that some suburban counties mostly serve as a "bedroom village" for the big cities.

 

Houston: Among suburban counties, Fort Bend County sent the highest share of commuters into a nearby urban county with 59.7 percent of its workforce — or 169,194 residents — heading into Harris County, home to Houston.

San Antonio: The highest share of commuters into Bexar County, home to San Antonio, came from Wilson County, which sent 52 percent of its workforce — or 10,358 of its 19,882 workers. Guadalupe County sent the highest raw number of workers — 21,443 commuters — into Bexar County.

Dallas/Fort Worth: Neighboring Dallas and Tarrant counties, home to Dallas and Fort Worth, shared commuters from surrounding counties. Collin County sent the most commuters to Dallas — 145,984 — while Kaufman County had the highest share of commuters — 46 percent — heading into Dallas.

Johnson and Parker counties nearly tied for the biggest share of suburban commuters — about 41 percent — traveling to Tarrant County for work, but Dallas County sent the highest raw number of workers with 65,905 of its residents working in Tarrant.

Austin: Bastrop and Williamson counties nearly tied for the biggest share of commuters sent into Travis County where Austin is located. Both sent nearly 45 percent of their workers into the urban county. But Williamson County sent the highest raw number of workers with 94,930 of its residents working in Travis.

 

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