CVEP’s central mission is to empower economic regionalism. We’re not complaining, but with a region comprised of nine incorporated cities and additional unincorporated areas, embracing regionalism is a challenge. Today’s digest looks at regionalism by investigating where residents live and work. In which city do most residents both live and work? Which city exports the most workers?

Between each decennial census, the US Census continues to gather essential demographic and economic data through the American Community Survey. These surveys use random samples that are statistically aggregated over three-year cycles. The data in this map are from the latest 2019 cycle release and thus show employment patterns pre-COVID.

The orange boxes show how many residents both live and work within the city. Desert Hot Springs is the winner here with 30.4% of employed residents working within the city. By contrast, only 1.6% of Indian Wells workers work within the city (granted Indian Wells has a comparably very low population).

The green arrows show what percentage of the city’s workforce comes from other places outside the city. Since Indian Wells had the very lowest number of workers living in the city it obviously has the highest number of workers. A little over 98.4% come into the city from other places to work in its thriving hospitality sector. And conversely, Desert Hot Springs has the lowest number of workers coming in at 69.6%

The gray arrows show how many workers commute out of their city of residence for employment. Once again, with its low population, Indian Wells exports the most workers at 95.8% of its working population. Here we see Palm Springs retaining the most employed residents with a comparable 68.8% of its residents commuting out for work.

These inflow and outflow patterns tell a lot about commuting patterns. Perhaps the low rate of residents working in their respective cities means there is a lack of affordable housing near their place of work. What does this say about sustainable transportation in our valley? With nine months of fabulous weather wouldn’t a great mix of jobs that are walkable from affordable housing make sense?