Illustration for article titled When Every County in America Goes to Work

In Humboldt County, Nevada, over a third of the population leaves for work in the middle of the night. Central and Mountain Time Americans tend to hit the road between 7:30 and 8 am, while East and West Coasters are all over the place. By 10 am, America’s roads have fallen silent.


Designer Jody Sieradzki decided to bring these patterns to life using US Census data. On the one hand, it’s fascinating to see how consistent American commuting habits are across such a geographically vast, culturally and economically diverse country. Basically nobody heads to work between 10 am and noon, for instance, underscoring just how deeply the 9 to 5 grind has embedded itself into the fabric of society (or at least, the society of those who don’t work from home ;).


But to me, the outliers are equally intriguing. Why do so many citizens of Humboldt work at night? Why do nearly half the residents of Kenedy County, Texas, hit the road between 7 and 7:29 am? And what on Earth is causing a second wave of afternoon commuters on the Aleutian Islands? Who even lives out there? (I hope this has something to do with whales).

These are not questions I have answers to, but if you’re looking to kill the last few minutes at the office before heading home on your (predicable) Friday commute, I encourage you to seek the truth.


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