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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Commuting Distance Sensitivity by Race and Socio-Economic Status


Previous research has shown that households are sensitive to commuting distance. A model of the responses to work-residence separation showed that the probability of moving closer to the job was a function of increasing distance from the work place. In particular, households beyond a threshold distance moved closer to the job when they changed residence. The question which is central in this paper is how race affects the probability of moving closer to the job when households change residence. Using a specialized data set the research shows that the commuting behaviors of relatively affluent minority and white households are consistent with the overall hypothesis that households minimize their commuting distance whenever possible. Thus, when we hold socio-economic status constant, there are negligible differences int he responses of white and minority households. Both household types are likely to move closer to their work locations with greater distances from the work location.

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