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The Uneven Geography of Remote Work

The Uneven Geography of Remote Work

A recent report form the Economic Innovation Group says it goes without saying that remote work has increased dramatically since before the pandemic.  They say the rise in what they call “telework” offers new opportunities for the economic development of communities across the country by loosening the grip that superstar cities have on skilled knowledge workers.  Interestingly, as they point out, the geography of this remote work surge has remained largely unmeasured by the data. However, analyzing data from the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) suggests that remote work is not just a superstar city or coastal phenomenon.   Indeed…

“What we can say is that within the United States there has been significant variation in the extent to which populations have benefited from remote work. Importantly, while remote work is concentrated along the coasts, we do see that there are places in every region and places outside of superstar cities with high levels of remote work. It should not be considered entirely a coast or superstar city phenomenon.”

Some Key Findings:

  • Recent Data shows that remote work has increased unevenly across the United States.
  • The highest rate of remote work is in Washington, DC, where 33.6% of the population worked remotely in 2021. The next highest is San Francisco, CA, and third is Austin, TX.
  • 13.7% of the country lives in a commuting zone where remote work share is greater than 25%.


Click on the above map to make it interactive


Click here to read the full report at the Economic Innovation Group.


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