Cities With the Most Remote Workers

Flexible work arrangements—including compressed workweeks, remote work, and flexible hours—have exploded in recent years, quickly becoming the norm rather than exception in certain industries. According to the latest U.S. Census data, the number of Americans working from home has increased by more than 2 million since 2010, reaching 8.2 million in 2018. Today, one in twenty American workers clock most of their hours from home, and all signs are showing that remote work is here to stay.

Bar Chart showing increase of remote workers in U.S. from 2010-2018 - U.S. Census Data

Demographic and technological change has ushered in a new era in terms of work-life balance. While in 1968, only one in four households had two parents working, that figure almost doubled by 2008, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. Coupled with longer commute times and improving technology such as videoconferencing, working from home has become a valued option for many workers. A Stanford study shows that in addition to making workers more content, remote work can boost productivity and reduce employer costs.

Unfortunately, working remote seems to be a benefit that’s not uniformly offered to American workers. In the U.S., the largest shares of home-based workers are found in more affluent and educated cities. Additionally, there’s a strong association between working remote and employment in high-paying fields like management, business, and science.

Given the recent increase in remote work and its uneven adoption throughout the U.S., researchers at Volusion wanted to examine where remote work is most common. They used data from the U.S. Census to identify U.S. cities with the largest share of workers who exclusively work from home. Here’s what they found:

List showing small and midsize U.S. cities with the highest percentages of remote workers


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15 Large U.S. Cities With the Most Remote Workers


San Francisco skyline
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15. San Francisco, CA

  • Proportion working remote: 6.3%
  • 5-year change in remote work: -7.4%
  • Median household income: $112,376
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 59.2%
  • Residents who graduated college: 59.8%
  • Median home value: $1,195,700

Pheonix skyline
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14. Phoenix, AZ

  • Proportion working remote: 6.3%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 37.0%
  • Median household income: $57,957
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 34.0%
  • Residents who graduated college: 28.9%
  • Median home value: $249,100

Los Angeles skyline
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13. Los Angeles, CA

  • Proportion working remote: 6.4%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 18.5%
  • Median household income: $62,474
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 38.2%
  • Residents who graduated college: 34.4%
  • Median home value: $682,400

Oakland skyline
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12. Oakland, CA

  • Proportion working remote: 6.5%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 0.0%
  • Median household income: $76,469
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 50.7%
  • Residents who graduated college: 47.2%
  • Median home value: $717,700

San Diego skyline
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11. San Diego, CA

  • Proportion working remote: 6.8%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 9.7%
  • Median household income: $79,646
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 47.6%
  • Residents who graduated college: 46.0%
  • Median home value: $654,700

Mesa AZ skyline
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10. Mesa, AZ

  • Proportion working remote: 6.8%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 61.9%
  • Median household income: $58,247
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 33.9%
  • Residents who graduated college: 26.9%
  • Median home value: $242,500

Colorado Springs skyline
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9. Colorado Springs, CO

  • Proportion working remote: 6.9%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 21.1%
  • Median household income: $65,331
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 40.8%
  • Residents who graduated college: 40.1%
  • Median home value: $288,400

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Tampa skyline
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8. Tampa, FL

  • Proportion working remote: 7.0%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 48.9%
  • Median household income: $54,599
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 42.6%
  • Residents who graduated college: 39.0%
  • Median home value: $257,600

Seattle skyline
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7. Seattle, WA

  • Proportion working remote: 7.7%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 14.9%
  • Median household income: $93,481
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 61.6%
  • Residents who graduated college: 65.0%
  • Median home value: $758,200

Seattle skyline
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7. Seattle, WA

  • Proportion working remote: 7.7%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 14.9%
  • Median household income: $93,481
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 61.6%
  • Residents who graduated college: 65.0%
  • Median home value: $758,200

Charlotte skyline
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6. Charlotte, NC

  • Proportion working remote: 8.4%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 44.8%
  • Median household income: $60,764
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 41.6%
  • Residents who graduated college: 44.2%
  • Median home value: $230,900

The beautiful skyline of Austin, TX
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5. Austin, TX

  • Proportion working remote: 8.4%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 18.3%
  • Median household income: $71,543
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 51.0%
  • Residents who graduated college: 54.1%
  • Median home value: $365,500

Raleigh skyline
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4. Raleigh, NC

  • Proportion working remote: 8.6%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 59.3%
  • Median household income: $65,695
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 50.4%
  • Residents who graduated college: 53.3%Median home value: $268,900

Denver skyline
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3. Denver, CO

  • Proportion working remote: 8.7%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 24.3%
  • Median household income: $68,377
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 49.5%
  • Residents who graduated college: 51.3%
  • Median home value: $435,100

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Portland skyline
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2. Portland, OR

  • Proportion working remote: 9.6%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 35.2%
  • Median household income: $73,097
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 50.7%
  • Residents who graduated college: 50.7%
  • Median home value: $451,000

Atlanta skyline
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1. Atlanta, GA

  • Proportion working remote: 9.6%
  • 5-year change in remote work: 21.5%
  • Median household income: $65,345
  • Workers in management, business, and science jobs: 53.9%
  • Residents who graduated college: 53.3%
  • Median home value: $302,200

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Data on the proportion of workers working from home, as well as data on population, age, sex, education, race, and the work sector are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Five-year growth in the proportion of remote workers was calculated as the percentage difference between the proportion of remote workers in the years 2018 and 2013.

To improve relevance, cities were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Large: more than 350,000 people
  • Midsize: 150,000-350,000 people
  • Small: 100,000-150,000 people

Across all U.S. cities, the analysis found a strong correlation between household income and remote work (correlation 46 percent). This suggests that working from home is a more likely option for high earners. Additionally, there’s a statistically significant relationship between remote work and the share of workers in high-paying sectors, such as management, business, and science.

scatterplot showing proportion of remote workers employed in management, business, and science fields

Similarly, among U.S. cities, the analysis found a significant positive relationship between the share of residents holding a college degree and the share of remote workers, cementing the hypothesis that home-work is disproportionately enjoyed by Americans holding well-paying jobs and college degrees.

Scatterplot showing positive relationship between high levels of education and work-from-home jobs

On the other hand, employees in industries such as production and transportation, are much less likely to work from home. Among U.S. cities, there’s a strong negative correlation between remote work and employment in these sectors. For most of these workers, being at the worksite is an essential component of the job, and working remotely is not a possibility.

Census data shows that the income inequality gap in the United States is the widest it has been in the last 50 years. As this analysis shows, it is likely that inequality in work benefits is widening as well, with high-paying sectors offering benefits such as remote work and flexible hours to their workers. At the same time, population groups who may potentially benefit the most from remote work—such as less-educated single parents—have a hard time joining the work revolution.