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Biggest commuter cities
The populations of these cities swell the most during the day.
October 21, 2005: 11:51 AM EDT
By Les Christie, CNN/Money staff writer
Commuters flowing into downtown Atlanta
Commuters flowing into downtown Atlanta
Biggest daytime cities
Towns over 500,000 showing the largest percentage increase of daytime populations
CityDaytime population change due to commuting
Washington, D.C.73.0%
Boston41.1%
Seattle28.4%
Denver28.0%
Portland, OR23.0%
San Francisco21.7%
Charlotte, NC21.2%
Houston20.6%
Nashville19.5%
Austin19.4%
Source:Census Bureau

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Ever notice that on weekends you have a lot more elbow room? Maybe you live in one of those cities where the daytime population is a lot higher than at night and on weekends.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its first ever report highlighting the differences between the residential populations of various towns and the numbers of people present during the work day. "The concept of the daytime population," says the report, "refers to the number of people, including workers, who are present in an area during normal business hours, in contrast to the resident population present during the evening and nighttime hours."

Among cities of a half million or more, Washington shows the largest net increase in daytime population. The stream of government and other workers that flows into Washington D.C. from all over northern Virginia and Maryland swells the District's population by 71.8 percent.

Other big commuter towns

Other big cities with significantly higher daytime populations include: Atlanta, where the population rises 62.4 percent; Tampa, 47.5 percent; Pittsburgh, 41.3 percent; and Boston, 41.1 percent.

Among cities of a million residents or more Houston gains the most: 20.6 percent. But for sheer numbers New York claims the highest population change with 563,060 more people present during the day. Gotham is a special case though; many of New York's citizens live in the outer boroughs, within city limits, and commute to the business centers of Manhattan, where the daytime population balloons by 1,336,808, a whopping 87 percent increase.

Among large cities, New York also reports the highest percentage of workers who both live and work in the same town; 91.5 percent of its working residents go to jobs located within city boundaries.

Some smaller cities populations of 100,000 to 250,000 also record very high percentage increases in daytime numbers. Irvine California, near Los Angeles, grows by 73.8 percent, Salt Lake City by 72.2 percent, and Orlando by 70.7 percent.

A few cities actually lose numbers, as reverse commutes take workers out of the core city and into suburban workplaces or the cities are bedroom communities for nearby business centers. San Jose loses 5.6 percent of its population during the day, Arlington, Texas drops by 12.5 percent, and Aurora, Colorado declines 18.5 percent.

Many of the cities with high percentage increases in daytime populations are pricey places to live. For the five most expensive big cities in America, click here.

Click here for a look at some of the best places to live in the United States.  Top of page

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