Where Charlottesville Works

The US Census Bureau has published some interesting visualizations of where Charlottesville works (geographically) as of 2013.  The source for the data and images is the U.S.Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies.  The tool can be found here.

Using the Charlottesville Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA), we can see where Charlottesville works.  The image below gives us an idea of what the CBSA looks like.  Each dot represents where people work within the CBSA (the bigger the circle, the more people working at that location).

Charlottesville CBSA

Zooming out we get a better sense of where people work outside of the CBSA.

Where Charlottesville Works

Interestingly, the number of people in Charlottesville who drive 50 miles or more to work is quite high.  The Census puts it at 21 percent, similar to but higher than just about every other local CBSA (Richmond: 18.7%, Roanoke: 16.6%, Staunton/Waynesboro: 17.8%, Lynchburg: 17.4%, Winchester: 16.6%).

Distance traveled to work
Not surprisingly, most of our distance travelers are headed in the direction of Washington, DC and Richmond/Norfolk (yellow represents > 50 miles).
Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.26.26 AM

Given this, Charlottesville is still a net employer, with more people employed here than those in the workforce (3,978 more, +4.7%).  This is similar to Richmond which has 27,509 more jobs than members of the workforce (+5.1%).


Inflows of workers

Although this is very isolated data, it’s always fun to use data to ask provocative questions…

  • How much does/will this 21% drive development in corridors that exit the city in the direction of DC and Richmond?
  • Can this be used as evidence that Charlottesville is the preferred place to live among those cities listed?
  • Will increased telecommuting lead to more people wanting to live in Charlottesville and make these numbers less meaningful, (ie. if I work at home but my office is DC)?
  • Do low percentages, like that for Roanoke, make those areas more sensitive to job loss than Charlottesville?

Could this all be changing, however?  According to Charlottesville Realtor and blogger Jim Duncan of Nest Realty, “I’m finding that more and more, one of the principal criteria my clients use to determine where they live is “how far is home from work/school/play?” More often than not, the threshold of “close” is less than 15 or 20 minutes, whether that is walking, biking or driving.”

Data citation: U.S. Census Bureau. 2015. OnTheMap Application. Longitudinal-Employer Household Dynamics Program. http://onthemap.ces.census.gov/

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