15 Cities With the Most Remote-Friendly Jobs

15 Cities With the Most Remote-Friendly Jobs
Remote work desk computer zoom
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This story originally appeared on Outdoorsy.

In a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, millions of Americans have transitioned to remote work. The new COVID-19 vaccine may leave many wondering whether the influx of remote work will recede with the coronavirus. Some companies have already committed to remote working conditions beyond 2020 — even permanently — but there are several jobs that simply cannot be carried out from home. Those who work in maintenance, food preparation, construction, and much of the health care industry are often (or always) required to physically be somewhere other than home.

Still, approximately one-third of all jobs can be conducted remotely. Analyzing two surveys conducted by the Occupational Information Network, researchers at the University of Chicago formulated a work-from-home measure for each of 22 major occupational groups. Using that measure and recent employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), researchers at Outdoorsy calculated the percentage of each U.S. metropolitan area’s workforce that can conduct work exclusively from home. Applying educational attainment, wage, and minority population data to the analysis, researchers identified some key takeaways.

Factors linked to the ability to work remotely

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As it turns out, educational attainment is a strong predictor of the ability to work remotely. Citing responses provided in the annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS), the BLS discovered that the percentage of workers who could do at least some work from home on an average day increases significantly based on educational attainment. While less than 5 percent of workers who did not finish high school report being capable of doing some work from home, more than 50 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher could.

Educational attainment is not the only predictive measure of remote work. The ATUS found that certain minorities were disproportionately underrepresented in the potential remote workforce. Overall, only 16.2 percent of Hispanic or Latino workers and 19.7 percent of Black or African American workers report being able to do some of their work from home compared with 29.9 percent and 37 percent of white and Asian American workers, respectively. In addition to occupation, living arrangements — including access to computers and broadband internet — may impact the ability of many minorities to work remotely. Pew research found that prior to the pandemic, only 57 percent of Hispanics and 58 percent of Blacks had access to a computer at home compared with 82 percent of whites.

The ability to work from home has not only kept millions of Americans employed this year, but remote work is also financially rewarding. While remote jobs make up 35.5 percent of all U.S. employment, they account for 45.8 percent of all U.S. wages. As a result, locations throughout the country with higher percentages of workers in remote-friendly occupations report generally higher median annual wages.

The prevalence of remote work varies significantly at the state level. Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia top the list of states with the highest percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs, reporting 40.2 percent, 39.6 percent, and 38.9 percent, respectively. Utah, Colorado, Washington, and California also show high percentages, all ranking in the top 10. The lowest percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs — just 29.7 percent — is in Mississippi.

Large metros with the highest percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs

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To find the metropolitan areas with the most remote-friendly jobs, researchers at Outdoorsy analyzed the most recent employment data from the BLS’s 2019 Occupational Employment (OES) Survey. A work-from-home measure that rates an occupation’s viability for remote work created by the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago was used to calculate the percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs in each metro. Researchers ranked metros accordingly. The report also includes the total number of workers in remote-friendly jobs, the median annual wage, the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the minority population share of each location.

Only metros with at least 100,000 residents were included in the study. Here are the large metros (those with at least 1 million residents) with the highest percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs.

15. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA

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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 38.3%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 387,855
  • Median annual wage: $44,590
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 34.2%
  • Minority population share: 47.3%

14. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

Minneapolis
Nick Lundgren / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 38.8%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 765,051
  • Median annual wage: $47,010
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 43.2%
  • Minority population share: 23.9%

13. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

New York City coastline
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 39.3%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 3,797,558
  • Median annual wage: $48,840
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 41.8%
  • Minority population share: 53.1%

12. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

Atlanta cityscape
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 39.4%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 1,081,509
  • Median annual wage: $40,000
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.9%
  • Minority population share: 52.4%

11. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 39.4%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 542,859
  • Median annual wage: $45,810
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 41.9%
  • Minority population share: 43.0%

10. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Denver Colorado
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 39.5%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 598,242
  • Median annual wage: $47,440
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 45.8%
  • Minority population share: 35.7%

9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 40.2%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 811,434
  • Median annual wage: $53,360
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 44.1%
  • Minority population share: 36.0%

8. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 40.3%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 261,866
  • Median annual wage: $41,640
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 48.0%
  • Minority population share: 38.4%

7. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 40.9%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 239,148
  • Median annual wage: $50,630
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.4%
  • Minority population share: 32.2%

6. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 41.2%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 302,815
  • Median annual wage: $40,120
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.5%
  • Minority population share: 27.8%

5. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Traffic in Austin, Texas
Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 42.2%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 453,316
  • Median annual wage: $41,560
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 46.2%
  • Minority population share: 47.6%

4. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 42.3%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 1,183,034
  • Median annual wage: $53,300
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 49.0%
  • Minority population share: 29.1%

3. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

San Francisco
Pius Lee / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 42.8%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 1,058,683
  • Median annual wage: $57,040
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 51.4%
  • Minority population share: 60.0%

2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Washington D.C.
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 47.5%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 1,510,494
  • Median annual wage: $56,320
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 51.4%
  • Minority population share: 54.2%

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

The skyline of San Jose, which has a lower median rent than median mortgage payment
stellamc / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 48.5%
  • Total workers in remote-friendly jobs: 553,081
  • Median annual wage: $61,980
  • Population with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 52.7%
  • Minority population share: 67.9%

Methodology and detailed findings

Businesswoman searching for a new job
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Researchers used the most recent employment data for wage and salary workers from the BLS’s 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey and a work-from-home measure created by the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago to calculate the metros with the highest percentage of workers in remote-friendly occupations. Employment totals were compiled for 22 different major occupation groups for each metro. Each occupation group’s employment total was multiplied by the designated work-from-home measure associated with that occupation group. Results were aggregated for each metro, and metros were ranked according to the highest percentage of workers in remote-friendly occupations.

Wage data was also collected from the 2019 OES Survey. Educational attainment data for the population age 25 and over came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Each metro’s minority population share came from the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

For relevance, only metros with at least 100,000 residents were included in the report. Metros were also grouped into the following cohorts based on population:

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999 residents
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999 residents
  • Large metros: 1 million residents or more

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