Getting to work
- Average one-way commute to work in the United States in 2019: 28 minutes.
- States with the longest average one-way commutes to work: New York (34 minutes) and Maryland (34 minutes).
- States with some of the shortest average one-way commutes to work: North Dakota (18 minutes) and South Dakota (18 minutes).
How people commute
- Less than 1% (805,722) of people in the United States rode a bike to work in 2019.
- Almost 3% (4,153,050) of people in the United States walked to work in 2019.
Across the 122,802,852 occupied housing units in the United States in 2019, it is estimated that...
- Almost half (59 million) were heated by utility gas.
- Less than 2% (2 million) were heated by wood.
- Less than 1 percent (248,893) were heated by solar energy.
A footprint on legislation
The first Earth Day in 1970 inspired the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Today, about 1 billion people take part in Earth Day-related activities.
How US businesses are going green
279: Businesses that use wind electric power generation
1,107: Businesses that use hydroelectric power generation
63: Businesses that use geothermal electric power generation
191: Businesses that use biomass electric power generation
106: Businesses that use solar electric power generation industry
1,234: Businesses that use electric power transmission
$9.8 billion: Total revenue for electric power generation industries that use renewable energy
17: The percent of U.S. renewable electric power generation in 2018
611,000: The number of employees who work in zero-emission technology industries
Trash picks up
- Today’s average American generates about 4.5 pounds of trash per day, compared to 2.68 pounds in 1960.
- In 2018, 292.4 million tons of waste were generated in the U.S. About 69 million tons were recycled and 25 million tons were composted.
Sources: US Census Bureau, EarthDay.org, Environmental Protection Agency, Tribune News Service
Earth Day history
How did Earth Day start? Environmental activists coined Earth Day in response to a massive oil spill in waters near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969.
1970: The first Earth Day mobilizes 20 million Americans to call for increased protections for our planet.
1990: Earth Day goes global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries.
2000: Earth Day leverages the power of digital media to build millions of local conversations across more than 180 countries.
2010: Earth Day Network launches A Billion Acts of Green and The Canopy Project. Earth Day 2010 engages 75,000 global partners in 192 countries.
2020: Earth Day 2020 marked 50 years with global activations.