First Advisor

Kenneth J. Dueker

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Commuting -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Urban-rural migration -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Portland Suburban Area (Or.)



Physical Description

3, x, 185 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Many North Americans have been moving to exurbia --low density, rural housing within the commuting range of urban areas. It has been assumed that employment is a major link. of exurban households with urban areas. It has been assumed that employment is a major link. of exurban households with urban areas. This analysis of exurban commuting patterns is based on a mail survey of 1408 households who bought homes in 1987 near Portland, Oregon. The bid-rent model of urban form predicts that exurbanites will trade-off long commutes for lower housing prices. But previous research suggests that exurban living may not require long commutes because of decentralized employment. The study finds that exurban commuters travel farther than suburban commuters and pay less for housing. Exurban home buyers do not, however, have longer commutes the farther out they live. Instead those with urban jobs generally locate closer to the city center than those with decentralized jobs. The commuting times of exurban principal wage earners are also influenced by occupation, flextime use, and by the presence and employment status of other adults in the household. The commuting times of exurban secondary wage earners are influenced by the number of hours they work, their mode of travel, and the number of children they have. Although most exurban home buyers moved to obtain a bigger lot and a more rural environment, there were many differences among households. Four types of exurban households were identified with cluster analysis. Only the Child-Raising households take full advantage of decentralized jobs to live in rural areas without longer commutes than suburbanites. In contrast, Long-Distance Commuters travel nearly twice the average time because they usually hold urban jobs and want large, but inexpensive, lots. Affluents also hold many urban jobs but can afford larger lots closer-in than others. The Economy-Minded commute average distances to obtain cheaper housing on smaller lots. This study improves understanding of the exurban development process. The study also finds that the bid-rent model of urban form is a useful theory for understanding exurban development despite the decentralization of employment and the predominance of two wage earner households.


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