School Choice and Commuting

Research Report

School Choice and Commuting

How Far New York City Students Travel to School
October 18, 2018


We estimate commuting times to school by public transportation for New York City students. NYC offers considerable school choice at all grade levels, and its density and public transit system make it possible to attend school farther from home. Older students are much less likely than younger ones to attend their closest school, and their average commute is longer. Commuting times vary by student background, with black students traveling significantly farther than other groups. Girls and higher-achieving students also commute farther. Despite having more options within a given commuting distance, we find disadvantaged populations must travel farther to reach a “high-performing” school.


This report was updated in November 2018 to correct data for figures 2 and 3.

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