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Carol Rogers
Indiana Business Research Center

Margaret Garrison
Kelley School of Business

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Hoosiers' commutes to work shorter and usually alone, according to IU report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- According to a new Indiana University report, Hoosiers on average have one of the easiest commutes to work compared to workers in neighboring states, although their driving habits don't help to reduce the time it takes.

Those are two of the findings reported in an article in the new issue of the Indiana Business Review, a publication of the Indiana Business Research Center in IU Bloomington's Kelley School of Business.

IBRC Associate Director Carol O. Rogers analyzed 2000 and 2002 data from the American Community Survey and studied household and family types, income, occupation, home values, mortgage burdens and home types.

According to Rogers, the average work commute in Indiana in 2002 took 21.2 minutes -- the shortest driving time except for Wisconsin's 20.3 minutes -- and declined slightly from 2000.

By comparison, Kentuckians needed an average of 22.7 minutes to get from home to work, and Ohioans needed 22.0 minutes. "Illinois continues to experience the longest travel time at 26.7 minutes, thanks to congestion in and around Chicago, no doubt," Rogers said.

"This doesn't sound like much of a difference, but the cumulative impact is substantial," Rogers said in an interview. "Assuming two trips per day and 250 working days per year, the typical Illinoisan would log 222 hours per year just going back and forth to work. Hoosiers, on the other hand, get by with just 177 annual commuting hours. The Indiana commuting advantage of 45 hours per year over Illinois represents more than a typical 40-hour work week."

Her research found one statistic that presents a challenge to urban planners in Indiana who are trying to reduce highway congestion that leads to long work commutes -- the vast majority of us drive alone. In 2002, 83 percent of working Hoosiers age 16 and older drove to work alone, which is similar to previous years.

Just 10 percent of Hoosiers carpooled to work, and 1 percent of workers used public transportation. Telecommuters -- people who work at home -- accounted for 3 percent of workers. Two percent took the healthiest route and walked to work. The average Indiana household owns two vehicles.

Other findings:

Rogers found that, on average, Hoosiers live in a single-family home valued at about $100,000 and warmed by natural gas. One-fourth of us were born outside Indiana, and fewer than half of all married couples in Indiana have children under age 18.

The number of Hoosier families with children is declining, according to Rogers, and the majority of households in Indiana consist of married couples with no children living at home. Between 2000 and 2002, the number of Indiana households with children under 18 declined by 1 percent.

Of households with children under age 18, most consist of married couples and make up 22 percent of all households, but there is an ever-growing number of single-mother households that account for 7 percent of all households.

Nearly 5 million Hoosiers lived in the same place in 2002 as they had in 2001, while 132,000 people lived in another state the year before. The percentage of the household population born in another country grew from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 3.4 percent in 2002.

The average Indiana home in 2002 was a single-family unit built before 1979 with five rooms and valued at $100,762, with a monthly mortgage of $928. Indiana's median home value rose by 2 percent in the time period studied. Less than 30 percent of household incomes went to monthly mortgage and owner costs.

Also in this issue:

Also in the new issue of the Indiana Business Review is the cover story, "How We Got Here from There: A Chronology of Indiana Property Tax Laws," by Dagney Faulk, a senior fiscal analyst for the Indiana Legislative Services Agency and assistant professor of economics at IU Southeast. The article takes a historical look at the issue.

While much attention has been focused on recent court cases and billing problems, Faulk said that property tax reform in Indiana can be traced back to the Bowen Tax Package of 1973. "Since the 1970s, legislative actions have expanded the options that local governments have for funding local services, primarily through local option income taxes, and increased the level of property tax deductions and credits," Faulk writes.

Morton J. Marcus, IBRC director emeritus, skewers the use of per capita personal income statistics as a measure of economic well-being in his article, "Double-Edged Sword: Personal Income as a Measure of Indiana's Well-Being."

All articles will be available in their entirety online for no charge at