Commuting: Where are they going and what are they doing?

Common thought on commuting in the region is that most people are traveling to the Washington, D.C., area to work. While the U.S. Census Bureau data shows this is mostly the case, it is not a general rule of thumb.

Martha Shickle, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, said her organization has seen an uptick in commuters traveling along Interstate 81.

“We mostly see an eastward trend along I-66 towards the city, but we’re starting to see more people commute to Winchester and farther north,” Shickle said. “As Winchester and Martinsburg grow and create more jobs, we anticipate seeing more people commuting to those towns.”

The U.S. Census Bureau reports 44,756 people commute outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley Region, 49,189 stay to work in the region and 25,086 come to the region to work. The region is composed of Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Warren and Page counties, along with various towns and cities within them.

In Shenandoah County, 9,172 residents leave to work elsewhere, 7,504 live and work in the county and 5,814 commute to the county for work. Of Shenandoah County residents 2,318 travel north for their jobs, 7,449 travel east, 645 travel south and 900 travel west. The Census Bureau estimates 4,461 people travel less than 10 miles for work, 2,670 residents travel 10 to 24 miles for work, 5,044 people commute 25 to 50 miles for work and 3,591 travel more than 50 miles for work. The top three industries in Shenandoah County are retail, education and health care.

In Warren County, 11,498 residents leave to work elsewhere, 4,268 live and work in the county and 5,860 travel to the county for work. About 668 travel north for work, 4,550 travel east, 1,156 travel south and 688 travel west. About 5,853 travel less than 10 miles for work, 4,456 travel 10 to 24 miles, 2,537 travel 25 to 50 miles and 3,830 travel more than 50 miles. The top three industries in Warren County are health care, education and scientific and technical services.

The following is a list of inflow —  the number of people coming to an area to work, and outflow — the number of people leaving for work, as well as those who stay to work, for municipalities in Warren and Shenandoah. Also included are the top three industries for workers.

Front Royal:

  • Inflow: 4,677
  • Outflow: 4,521
  • Stayed: 1,523
  • Top three industries: retail, health care, and education


  • Inflow: 3,999
  • Outflow: 1,460
  • Stayed: 547
  • Top three industries: manufacturing, education, retail


  • Inflow: 2,065
  • Outflow: 2,426
  • Stayed: 370
  • Top three industries: manufacturing, retail, and education

Mount Jackson:

  • Inflow: 818
  • Outflow: 534
  • Stayed: 82
  • Top three industries: manufacturing, retail, and education

New Market:

  • Inflow: 705
  • Outflow: 422
  • Stayed: 72
  • Top three industries: manufacturing, retail and health care (tied), food services

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or

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