Like other North Carolina metros – and many cities throughout the Sunbelt – Charlotte is very sprawling. A recent report ranked the city as the 25th -most sprawling in the country. However, among metros with a population of over one million, Charlotte ranked 5th in terms of sprawl.*
We begin our analysis of transportation affordability by examining the Triangle metro area. Like many metros in North Carolina, the Triangle is very sprawling. A recent report ranked Raleigh-Cary as the 67th most sprawling metro (out of 221 analyzed), while Durham-Chapel Hill placed 31st.* Both have little mixing between residential areas and job centers – meaning that residents have to drive longer distances to employment. This, in turn, drives up transportation costs for residents.
Click the map above to go to an interactive version.
In our next series of posts, we’ll shift our attention to a major cost faced by low-income households: transportation. Transportation is most families’ second-greatest expense (after housing); on average, Americans spend nearly 14% of their income on it. However, the average poor family spends nearly 23% of their income on transportation, but despite paying more their transportation is often less reliable.