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New: Census Data on Bike Commuting

Today the Census Bureau released its newest report on commuting in America, heralding a 60 percent increase in bike commuting in America over the past decade.

This report looks at both biking and walking using 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey. While our Where We Ride report released last year focused on overall bike commuter rates, this new report by the Census Bureau focuses on demographic and geographic factors that provide important context to bicycle commuting.  We’ll discussed this new report with Brian McKenzie of the U.S. Census Bureau — watch our chat below.


This allows the Census Bureau to report on demographic factors that provide important context to bicycle commuting. Some of these demographic and geographic factors include:

  • Age: 1% of workers between 16 and 24 years of age use bicycles to commute to work.
  • Sex: While men and women walk to work at similar rates, men are almost 3 times more likely to bicycle to work, which is similar to other countries with low bicycle commuting rates.
  • Race: People who indicated they are multiracial or a race outside of the choices given by the Census (Hispanic or Latino, White alone, Black or African American alone, Asian alone) had the highest bicycle commuting rate at .8%. Hispanic or Latino workers had the second highest rate at .7%.
  • Education level: People with graduate or professional degrees bicycle to work at a rate of .9%, followed by people who did not graduate high school at .7%.
  • Household wealth: 1.5% of workers in households making less than $10,000 biked to work.
  • Commute time: The average bicycle commute time is 19.3 minutes, and most bicycle commutes were between 10 and 14 minutes long.
  • Regional differences: Rates of bicycling to work tended to be highest in large cities, this was particularly pronounced in the Midwest. In other regions there was not a large difference between rates in medium and large cities.
  • Census Tract Map: Bicycle commuting data can now be viewed on the Census Explorer map tool, allowing you to explore bicycle commuting rates for each census tract

This type of demographic and geographic data is great to have and adds to the larger story of increasing bicycle commuter rates. When we talk about growing the bicycle movement and improving bicycling it is important to know who is currently bicycling and where they are doing it.

Unfortunately, ACS data does not include recreational riding, which we know is the majority of riding, but it does give us data on workers who regularly use a bicycle for the majority of their commute to work.

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