Okay, you'd think counties near L.A., in California, or perhaps the greater Atlanta metroplex, would dominate the list. You'd be wrong. Survey says:
1. Elbert County, Colorado (71 minutes)
2. Park County, Colorado (67 minutes)
3. (tie) Gates County, North Carolina; Amelia County, Virginia; and Robertson County, Kentucky (66 minutes)
6. Charles City, Virginia (65 minutes)
7. (tie) Charles County, Maryland; San Jacinto County, Texas; and Paulding County, Georgia (64 minutes).
Okay, I'm bored typing. You get the idea. The Colorado counties serve Denver, the Kentucky county is the smallest in the state and is roughly halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ky. There are a lot of Virginia counties high on the list, mostly around D.C. But coming in at 14th is New York if that makes you feel any better. Twenty-nine counties list an hour or longer of a commute alone.
Okay, but is a long commute alone really a bad thing?
Let's take Elbert County, Colorado. It's only in the second quartile when it comes to "poor mental health days" ranks in the lowest (best) quartile in "poor physical health days." In other words, you can't easily draw a connection, at least not with one relatively well-off county. To really do this, we need to correlate all the county scores on mental and physical health with time commuting alone. That's a bit more challenging. See below:
Correlation of Minutes Commuting Alone With...
- Poor Mental Health Days: r = .21
- Lack Physical Activity: r = .34
If I really get bored, I may tackle a multivariate approach. But I'd have to be really really bored. It's not a terribly difficult job if I fold the data into SPSS, but I have a long list of other data projects waiting my attention, so feeding this blog is not a priority. My hunch is there is a small yet statistically significant relationship between long, lonely commutes and mental/physical health, but it's modest at best once you control for all the other factors, such as poverty.