Prior to the stay-at-home orders, most workers in the Chicago region (56 percent) commuted across county boundaries every day, knitting our communities together into a metropolitan economy. This figure is significantly higher for the region’s collar counties. While 36.5 percent of Chicago residents ‘reverse commute’ out of the city, two-thirds of residents each in Will County (69.1 percent), McHenry County (67.7 percent), and Kane and Kendall counties (65.8 percent) cross these boundaries to work. Roughly one in ten regional workers (9.1 percent) also commutes in to the seven-county Chicago region from other areas like Wisconsin and Indiana, and exurban Grundy, Kankakee, and DeKalb counties.
The pre-pandemic charts below show the flows of residents from their home (on the left) to their workplace (on the right) and back again. While we strive to build places where residents can live, work, and play within their local community, the bulk of economic activity occurs across county boundaries creating a regional labor market.