Work

The 10 cities with the worst commutes, according to U.S. News

Passengers on the New York City subway crowd together during evening rush hour May 5, 2017 in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

There are few things that workers hate more than a bad commute.

One study found that adding 20 minutes to your commute makes you as miserable as taking a 19% pay cut. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and economist Alan Krueger once surveyed 900 people and found that commuting was their least favorite activity of all, behind work, child care and home chores. Human resources consulting firm Robert Half surveyed over 2,800 Americans across 28 major U.S. cities and found that 23% of workers have quit a job because of a bad commute.

On Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report released their 2019 ranking of the Best Places to Live, which considers thousands of survey responses about what it's like to live in U.S. cities, including factors like like job market health, quality of life and desirability.

As part of calculating quality of life, U.S. News considers the average commute times in the cities on the ranking.  The publication found that when it comes to getting to work, these 10 cities put their residents through the wringer.

Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the longest commutes:

Traffic in Downtown Los Angeles.
Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images

10. Los Angeles, California

Average commute time: 30.4 minutes

9. Baltimore, Maryland

Average commute time: 30.8 minutes

8. Boston, Massachusetts

Average commute time: 31.0 minutes

Heavy traffic in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

7. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Average commute time: 31.2 minutes

6. Atlanta, Georgia

Average commute time: 31.4 minutes

5. Chicago, Illinois

Average commute time: 31.6 minutes

4. Stockton, California

Average commute time: 32.0 minutes

Traffic backs as it travels northbound on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

3. San Francisco, California

Average commute time: 32.8 minutes

2. Washington, D.C.

Average commute time: 34.6 minutes

1. New York, New York

Average commute time: 36.0 minutes

Commuters ride on a crowded downtown subway October 16, 2018 in New York City, New York. NYC Transit president Andy Byford has proposed a $40 billion Fast Forward plan laid out over 10-years that he expects will revitalize subway, bus and accessibility services.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

New York City topped U.S. News' list as the place with the worst commute. The densely populated city has lengthy average commute times of about 35.6 minutes on average.

"Many people who move to a new metro area are doing so for the job opportunities, and a long commute is considered the trade-off to living in a major city with high-paying jobs. It's no surprise that some of the strongest job markets are in high-density areas like New York City, Washington, D.C. or San Francisco," Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News tells CNBC Make It. "The more people that live and work in an area, however, the longer it typically takes for a person to get to work."

"Of course, not everyone loves the idea of spending 40 minutes in a gridlock or changing trains to get to work. Some consumers even consider a long commute as a deal breaker when it comes to moving, and opt for a place with a lower median annual salary to help boost that work-life balance. For this, we look at both the median salary and average commute time separately."

Over the past several decades, the average commute time for Americans has modestly but steadily increased. According to the U.S. Census, in 1990 the average commute time was less than 22 minutes. Today, Americans spend just over 26 minutes commuting to work each way.

These four extra minutes spent on commuting equates to eight minutes a day (4 x 2) round trip, 40 (8 x 5) extra minutes each week and 2,080 (40 x 52) extra minutes of commuting each year. This means that commuters now are spending 34.6 more hours in transit — a whole work week — than workers in the 1990s.

This modest but still significant increase in commute times has a significant impact on workers. Vox's Kimberly Mas points out that commuting has been linked to obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, higher blood pressure, higher rates of divorce, neck and back pain and shorter lifespans.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss:

VIDEO2:0002:00
Why Einstein may not have created the theory of relativity if his mom hadn't made him play the violin
Passengers on the New York City subway crowd together during evening rush hour May 5, 2017 in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM