Monday, April 05, 2010

Population, Jobs and Commutes in the Washington Region, Part Three

In Part Two, we demonstrated significant differences between jurisdictions in the Washington region in population growth, employment growth and real wage growth since 1970. Those differences have impacted the region’s commuting patterns in very large ways since then.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) offers many data series at the national, state and county levels. One series it offers is a matrix of commuting patterns by county. For each county, BEA estimates both the residence of job holders inside the county as well as the job locations of county residents. We gathered the former measure – residence of county job holders – for each of the Washington area’s Big Four jurisdictions in 1970 and 2000. Here is the story for each of the Big Four in both of those years.

District of Columbia

In 1970, D.C. had 504,611 jobs. Of those jobs, 220,277 (44%) were held by D.C. residents. Prince George’s residents held 96,482 (19%) of D.C.-based jobs, MoCo residents held 66,967 (13%) and Fairfax residents held 47,802 (10%).

In 2000, D.C. had 668,739 jobs, an increase of 33% over 1970. Of those jobs, 190,560 (29%) were held by D.C. residents, 126,135 (19%) were held by Prince George’s residents, 99,675 (15%) were held by MoCo residents and 92,238 (14%) were held by Fairfax residents. The drop in D.C. residents’ job-holding percentage of D.C. jobs is due to the absolute drop in D.C.’s population over that period of time. The percentage of D.C. jobs held by residents of the outer suburbs (defined as excluding MoCo, Prince George’s, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria) increased from 4% in 1970 to 14% in 2000.

Prince George’s County

In 1970, Prince George’s had 153,808 jobs. Of those jobs, 111,239 (72%) were held by Prince George’s residents. D.C. residents held 12,553 (8%) of Prince George’s-based jobs and MoCo residents held 11,027 (7%). No other jurisdiction’s residents accounted for more than 4% of Prince George’s jobs.

In 2000, Prince George’s had 293,883 jobs, an increase of 91% over 1970. Of those jobs, 155,675 (53%) were held by Prince George’s residents, 26,825 (9%) were held by MoCo residents and 26,264 (9%) were held by Anne Arundel County residents. The combined percentage of Prince George’s jobs accounted for by residents of Howard, Anne Arundel, Charles and Calvert Counties rose from 7% in 1970 to 21% in 2000.

The percentage of Prince George’s jobs held by Prince George’s residents has declined substantially since 1970, as it has in D.C., but for a different reason. D.C. has seen falling population since 1970, but Prince George’s has grown. In the case of Prince George’s County, since its real wage growth from 1970 through 2008 was a minuscule 29.4% - or less than one percent per year – its residents are commuting outside of the county for work in much larger numbers. As other jurisdictions create high-wage jobs, they are increasingly drawing Prince George’s County residents to fill them. And at the same time, residents of other Maryland counties are taking Prince George’s jobs in rapidly growing numbers. The implications for the region’s transportation network are significant.

We’ll examine MoCo and Fairfax tomorrow.