In the aftermath of COVID-19’s first wave in March-April 2020, an astonishing 62 percent of employed Americans said they’d worked remotely for at least a portion of the first few weeks of the pandemic.
While many of those people didn’t make a permanent shift to working remotely and a large percentage have returned to their physical workplaces, many economists expect the shift from traditional office settings to working from home to continue.
A Stanford University study released in June indicated that the share of work-from-home days across the economy is expected to rise from about five percent pre-COVID to 20 percent, perhaps persisting even after the pandemic is no more.
That study suggested that rather than shifting to a 100 percent home-based workforce (among those whose jobs can make the transition), many workers will split their time, say, working a few days at home and spending the remainder in the office.
Long before the pandemic, the percentage of people who worked from home had been on the rise. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, almost six percent of people worked from home, an increase of about one-third over the past decade.
Given the widespread popularity of working from home, especially considering how it was growing even before the pandemic, plus the ongoing transition to a gig and information economy, there seems little doubt that remote work will become far more common over the next several years.
Many newly remote workers will stay right where they are, but others may take advantage of one particular benefit of working from home — that home is wherever you want it to be. In previous eras, workers had to move where the jobs were, but in a work-from-home economy, the opposite is true.
And many fledgling work-from-home professionals may be interested in capitalizing on their newfound flexibility by finding a new place to live. We wanted to find out which cities across the U.S., from the very large to the very small, are best for the modern remote worker.
You can jump to the bottom of the page to read our full methodology, but we analyzed about 800 communities across the country to find out which ones give remote workers the best balance of affordability and access to high-speed internet.
Of course, everyone has a different set of factors they use to determine if a place is an attractive relocation option. Some want lots of live music venues, while others are big on parks, restaurants or culturally significant sites. Our ranking doesn’t factor for those things, but if you’re looking to start with a base of affordability and high-speed internet access — put these cities on your list.
Full research here