NC in Focus: Commuting by Carpooling

Nearly 440,000 or 10.4% of all North Carolina workers carpool to work according to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey estimates. Nationally, 9.8% of workers carpooled. North Carolina has the 15th highest rate of carpooling among the states.

Many counties have a higher rate of carpooling than the state average; many of these counties are smaller counties. Hyde County has the highest rate of carpooling: 22% of its 2,050 workers report commuting to work via carpool. At the other extreme, Scotland County had the lowest proportion of carpoolers. Only 4.6% of Scotland’s nearly 3,300 workers reported carpooling.

Counties with Highest Proportion of Carpooling

Just over two-thirds of carpoolers work in their county of residence (68%). Twenty-eight percent work in North Carolina in a county other than where they live and 4% work in a different state. The largest cross-state commuting flow by carpool is from Mecklenburg to York County, South Carolina. More than 1,500 workers carpool across these county and state lines.

Within North Carolina, nearly 125,000 workers commute to work across county lines in a carpool. The largest cross-county carpooling commuting flow is from Wake County into Durham, with more than 4,500 commuters. (Durham into Wake is the 6th largest cross-county commuting flow, with 2,185 commuters). Other than this flow, which highlights the importance of Research Triangle Park to regional transportation patterns, the remainder of the five largest cross-county carpools are from suburban counties into core urban counties.

Top 5 Carpooling_Cross County

Commuters from suburban counties into Mecklenburg – Cabarrus, Union, and Gaston – comprise three of the top five cross-county carpool flows. Johnston County into Wake is the 3rd largest cross-county carpool flow.

Two of the other top 10 flows are similarly from suburb to urban core: Randolph to Guilford (#7) and Brunswick to New Hanover (#10). The remainder of the top 10 cross-county carpool flows? Cross-county county commuting within the Triangle region: Durham to Orange (#8) and Orange to Durham (#9).

Read more about North Carolina commuting patterns:

About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
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