Extreme Commutes Becoming Norm

Nouri al-Maliki, Mohammad Reza Rahimi
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For Angela Dean, the American dream is a two-story home in the country where her boys can play and just be.

"I sit down with a book and just look up at the sky," she says.

But, as CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella

, all this peace and quiet comes at a cost.

At 4 a.m., Dean is getting Michael and Trenton out of bed. As soon as their shoes are on, they're out the door and into the night, off to the babysitter's house where the boys will get a few more hours of sleep before school.

An hour later, Dean boards the bus for the long ride to work in Manhattan, nearly 100 miles away. She arrives at the office around 7:30 a.m.

As extreme as it sounds, this kind of commute has become the norm here. At 4 a.m., the bus station parking lot is full of people getting on the bus for a two-hour trek to work.

They are a growing class of bleary-eyed masses yearning for sleep.

Nearly 3.5 million Americans now spend an hour and a half or more on the road to and from work, pushed farther from the office in search of affordable housing.

The trend has transformed Pennsylvania's Poconos from the land of honeymooners and heart-shaped tubs to an oasis of housing developments.

With the average price of a home in the New York suburbs at $700,000 and rising, Poconos real estate agent Tom Wilkins says 90 percent of his clients are in the market for a primary home with about 3,000 square-feet.

He says that would cost around $225,000.

"It would be in the low twos," says Wilkins.

This is the tradeoff: Angela packs every night for the next day's commute.

"I carry a blanket all the time," she says.

And she gets home exhausted, with dinner to make and homework to review.

"It's tiring, but when I think of doing it for the kids, like them to have a childhood, that's what I wanted," she says.

At the end of the day Angela says it's worth it raising her boys in a house she owns, in a place where they can run free and sleep soundly, even if they have to get moving again in the middle of the night.