Social and economic effects of commuting : A case study on commuting households within Umeå enlarged local labour market region

University essay from Umeå universitet/Kulturgeografi


The geographical distance between home and workplace is present and increases within modern society. Along with changing economic structures and technological developments it has increased the spatial division of labour and changed the pressure on global, regional and local markets. Regional development strategies today emphasize on more mobile, flexible and larger geographical labour markets to improve matchmaking between jobs and labour force to reach and obtain development. Commuting has therefore increased and is often promoted as a positive solution for involved individuals and the regional society at large. Although, the notion and benefits of such regional development strategies have been questioned as commuting involves a consideration between economic and social circumstances and effects on all involved household members. The social and economic effects on commuting households in Umeå enlarged local labour market region have therefore been studied in and investigated in this thesis. Empirical data has been collected through qualitative interviews with four commuting households with different home-work locations and commuting situations. Results of this study goes in line with previous studies and pictures how commuting is a strategy to obtain or maintain desired living conditions within desired location when the local labour opportunities are limited. Commuting households therefore gain “quality of life” and labour opportunities. But, the economic benefits are reduced by transport costs and reduction of labour hours, and the social consequences of reduced time in the home environment effects relations between family members and the division of household responsibilities’. This study have also broaden the understanding of commuting effects and showed that shorter commuting distance also hold social and economic implications for commuting households. 

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