The jobs-housing puzzle: Do you work where you live? - Metropolitan Planning Council

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The jobs-housing puzzle: Do you work where you live?

Every day, thousands of people leave the communities where they live to travel to those where they work, and vice versa.

The village of Elk Grove, Ill., has two jobs to every worker that lives there, but only 15 percent of those workers work there. In Austin, one of Chicago’s 77 community areas, residents outnumber jobs two to one, but more than 90 percent of those jobs are filled by people who do not live in Austin. Every day thousands of people commute to and from each of Chicago’s neighborhoods and suburbs, but only a small minority spends the work day in the same community that it wakes up in. Overwhelmingly people do not live and work in the same place.

This mismatch between jobs and housing has big implications when thinking about who the stakeholders and members of a community are, and how we tackle issues of unemployment, job creation and access to transit. Instead of trying to bring jobs to people, it may often be more effective to make policy that helps bring people to jobs. Transit-oriented development has been a focus for the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), with the goal of connecting where people live to where job opportunities are available.

In this blog series, we’ll cover current statistics on where people live and work, and what that means for municipal leaders and planners:


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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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