Who Uses Public Transportation in Your City?

Demographics for public transportation riders don't mirror other residents in the vast majority of U.S. cities. In nearly all urban areas, data indicates public transportation commuters tend to be disproportionately poorer than those driving to work.

Select a city below to display median earnings, poverty and race/ethnicity statistics for public transportation ridership. The top 100 U.S. cities with the most total public transportation commuters, according to Census Bureau estimates, are shown.

Interpreting the Data

  • Please note that survey data shown only considers those who commute to work. For this reason, income and poverty levels for all public transportation riders are likely less than shown for many cities.
  • In the Census Bureau survey, “public transportation” commuters include those traveling via bus, rail, trolley or ferryboat. Only those taking public transportation for the longest segment of their trip to work count as public transportation commuters.
  • Listed figures are for residents residing within a given city, not a metro area or larger region served by a transit system. Multiple systems may serve a city.
  • Cities with the 100 most public transportation commuters are listed. The Census Bureau does publish estimates for other cities with fewer commuters, but they are subject to higher margins of error.
Related Readings
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, stopped collecting fares from residents a year ago.

The Eastern European city found a way to offer free rides to citizens for a small cost to government. The U.S. has tried it before. Will cities try it again?

People who use public transportation are disproportionately poorer than other commuters in nearly every U.S. city, according to an analysis.