A survey by the real estate data company At Home conducted last November found that among commuters who worked in central Tokyo, the average time spent traveling one-way to their jobs was about one hour. The “ideal” amount of time that people cited for commuting was 34 minutes. The average response to the question, “At what point does commuting time become too much,” was 88 minutes.
Nothing surprising or, for that matter, particularly enlightening there, but things get more interesting when the stats are broken down into age groups. The average commute time for a person in his 50s who owns his own home is 68 minutes, while the average commute times for people in their 40s and 30s who owned their own homes were less than 60 minutes. We can assume that many of the people in their 50s bought their homes in the immediate post-bubble market of the early 90s, when housing was very expensive and thus people had to buy properties further from their jobs in order to afford them. In the years since then, housing prices have dropped, especially for used properties, so younger workers were able to buy houses closer to their places of work. However, the stats for renters is different. The average commute for people in their 50s who rent was 55 minutes, while that for people in their 40s who rent was 62 minutes. That would seem to indicate that older people who rent are able to live closer to town than do younger people, and that makes perfect sense.