The Best and Worst Cities for Remote Workers in the U.S.

Remote working has become an increasingly normal part of the office workplace. Whether workers are remote full time, just a few days a week, or just simply have the option, more and more people are working from the comfort of their home, a coffee shop, a coworking space, or wherever they can get WiFi.

In fact, roughly 16% of the U.S. workforce — around 26 million Americans — work remotely at least part time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With that in mind, we wanted to see how different cities compared when it came to remote work. We put together a study analyzing the 50 largest cities in the U.S. on five different factors, such as WiFi speed, coworking spaces, and cost of living. 

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Here’s what we found:

Main Findings

U.S. map of the best cities for remote workers

Summary

Coming in at the top spot for the best city for remote work is Kansas City, MO. It scored well for both cost of living and average WiFi speed. In fact, according to our analysis, it has the fastest WiFi speeds in the country. That factor was weighted double in our study and made Kansas City stand out.

Coming in at number two is Salt Lake City, UT. It has a low cost of living compared to the other cities which helped its overall score. The rest of the top five are Austin, TX, Raleigh, NC, and San Antonio, TX.

Coming in 50th is Memphis, TN. It has some of the slowest average WiFi speeds as well as low counts of coworking spaces and coffee shops per capita. Rounding out the bottom five cities are NYC (49), Cleveland, OH (48), Detroit, MI (47), and Birmingham, AL (46).  

Methodology

To determine the best cities for remote workers, Overheard on Conference Calls compared the 50 most populated cities in the U.S. on five key metrics with two overall categories. Each metric was graded on a 10-point scale and weighted according to its importance to remote workers. The categories, factors, and weights can be seen below. 

After analyzing the data, we compiled the city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score. Those scores were used to rank-order our sample with a total score of 50. A score of 50 would be the ideal city for remote workers. 

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Work Factors Score – 35 points

  • Average WiFi Speed – Double Weight
  • Coworking Spaces Per Capita – Full Weight
  • Coffee Shops Per Capita – Half Weight

Living Factors Score – 15 points

  • Cost of Living – Full Weight
  • Commute Time Savings – Half Weight

Sources

Yelp, Numbeo Cost of Living Index, Ookla, U.S. Census Bureau

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David Cusick

David Cusick is the executive editor for Overheard on Conference Calls. He comes from a strong news background and currently works in digital marketing in Raleigh, NC. His work has won multiple awards, including Interactive Content Marketing's award for Best Use of Content Marketing and the US Search Award for Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign. Additionally, his work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, CNN, ABC, Business Insider, and more.