Examining the Intersection of Race, Income, and Commute Distance

Research Team: Evelyn Blumenberg (lead) and Hannah King

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: The increasing geographic separation of housing and employment locations in California has led to longer commuting times and distances, which has negative effects on housing affordability, employment opportunities, and the environment. Two previous research projects examined (a) the relationship between the lack of affordable housing and growing commute distance (b) the growing jobs/housing imbalance in California cities and its effect on affordable housing, and (c) the effect transit-friendly neighborhoods have on reducing average commute distance. There is a pressing need, however, to explore how these relationships are affected by race and class distinctions.

Project Description: This research project will build upon prior research efforts to examine changes in commute distance in low-income and majority race neighborhoods (neighborhoods where more than 50 percent of residents are White, Black, Hispanic, or Asia), using the most recent available data on commute distances (currently 2018) by income and race/ethnicity as well as by metropolitan area, with attention paid to how the crisis in affordable housing is contributing to longer commute distances, especially for low-income and non-white populations. As there are relatively few majority Black neighborhoods in California the study will include information (with supplemental funding from another source) from the 10 largest U.S. metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Phoenix).

Status: In Progress

Budget: $42,500