When the Coronavirus pandemic spread to the U.S. in early 2020, millions of employers sent workers home and adopted a remote work model. In December 2020, nearly three-quarters of American employees were working from home — 51 percent more than before the pandemic. Statistics have shown that remote team members are more productive, have a higher income, and are in better health than in-office co-workers.
If you’re looking to grow your international remote team, you may want to include the best U.S. cities to hire remote workers in your expansion plan.
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Best U.S. cities for remote workers
While people can telecommute from almost anywhere, some cities embrace the remote working lifestyle more than others. When determining where to hire remote teams, you’ll want to consider:
- Access to reliable internet
- Cost of living, including rent and transportation prices
- Emerging talent hubs
- Parks, green spaces, and entertainment options
- Nearby access to higher education institutions
- Time zone differences
You might also want to consider cities where remote work is abundant. Small cities with the most remote workers include:
- Bend, Oregon
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Wilmington, Delaware
Large cities with the most remote workers are:
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Tampa Bay, Florida
However, while a particular city might have a higher percentage of applicants for remote work, these cities might differ from what are considered to be the best cities for telecommuting. Employers hiring remote workers in the U.S. should consider a city’s amenities and entertainment options, educational institutions, and the cost of living.
Let’s review seven of the best U.S. cities for remote workers.
1. St. Paul, Minnesota
Although the cost of living in St. Paul is slightly higher than the nation’s average, its amenities, student population, and diverse industries make it one of the best cities for remote workers in the U.S. The twin cities offer exceptional dining and both summer and winter activities to keep remote team members occupied after work year-round. With a population of about 311,000 residents, your employees are sure to find their niche in Minnesota’s state capital.
Residents make a median household income of about USD 58,000 a year, and the median gross rent is about USD 1,000 a month. The metropolitan’s top five industries include health and social assistance, public administration, education, finance and insurance, food service, and hospitality.
More than 58,000 students are enrolled in one of the 11 colleges and universities in the city, making the area a rich source of recent graduates. In fact, 40 percent of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Institutions such as the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design are the perfect setting for team members to advance their skills in various fields.
St. Paul also boasts diverse neighborhoods, with residents speaking more than 100 languages. The most common languages are English, Somali, Hmong, and Spanish. The city is a vibrant cultural center, hosting 52,000 theater seats and three museums. Further, nearly all residents live within walking distance of one of St. Paul’s 179 parks and open green spaces. The city also offers 111 miles of trails and operates 25 public recreation centers.
2. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, is also a top U.S. city for hiring remote workers despite its slightly higher housing costs. With a population of nearly 270,000 and a hub for organic farm-to-table meals, Wisconsin’s capital city appeals to employees searching for a more rustic city life.
The median household income in Madison is about USD 65,300 per year, and the median gross rent cost is about USD 1,100 per month. The city’s top industries are advanced manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, information technology, and life sciences and biotechnology.
Madison is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state’s largest public university. This ensures that you’ll have a large pool of recent graduates to choose from, and an idyllic place for current employees to further their education. Madison’s workforce is also highly skilled, with more than 60 percent of the city’s residents holding bachelor’s degrees.
Moreover, Madison has a thriving cultural life for remote team members. The city holds frequent events for the community and is home to the Wisconsin Historical Museum and Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Madison’s 270 parks span more than 6,000 acres and include amenities like dog parks, beaches, hiking, and sports facilities. The city also hosts gorgeous architecture, including eight buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
3. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers big-city entertainment like art, live music, and craft beer at a fraction of the cost of living in San Diego or Austin — making it one of the best U.S. cities for remote workers. Around 200,000 people call Michigan’s second-largest city home.
Housing is incredibly affordable in Grand Rapids, with the median rent costing about USD 925 a month. Residents make a median household income of about USD 50,000 per year. Top industries in the region include agriculture, apple harvesting, health, and office furniture manufacturing.
Remote employees can also enrich their careers by studying at one of the 15 higher education institutions in the city, including Grand Valley State University, Davenport University, and Compass College of Cinematic Arts. More than 36 percent of adults in Grand Rapids hold a bachelor’s degree.
Remote employees can delve into Grand Rapid’s cultural scene after work. Beer lovers have dubbed Grand Rapids “Beer City USA,” as the region has more than 80 craft breweries. For those who prefer the arts, the city hosts La Grande Vitesse: one of the world’s most visited art museums. This landmark was the first public project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Grand Rapids is also home to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The city also throws festivals and other cultural and entertainment events seasonally and annually to bring the community together.
About three-quarters of residents live within walking distance of one of the city’s 75 parks that span more than 2,000 acres. Remote team members are also within 15 minutes of 28 public golf courses, and the city offers a variety of recreation programs for families, adults, and seniors.
4. Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa’s capital, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, making it one of the best U.S. cities for remote workers.
The city’s approximately 214,000 residents enjoy a low median gross rent of about USD 900 per month, and a median household income of around USD 53,500 per year. Major industries in the city include healthcare, financial services, insurance, and agricultural production and packaging. Further, major media company Meredith Corporation‘s headquarters are located in Des Moines.
Higher education opportunities in Des Moines include Simpson College and Drake University, which offer continuing education and graduate and professional programs for your remote team to further their professional development. Nearly 27 percent of adults in Des Moines have a bachelor’s degree.
Remote team members will also have plenty to do when they aren’t working. Des Moines is a hub for the arts — residents can visit the Des Moines Art Center free of cost, which features the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Performing arts fans can enjoy shows at the Community Playhouse, Performing Arts Civic Center, Metro Opera, or the Ballet Des Moines. Des Moines is also home to the State Historical Museum of Iowa, where remote employees can discover Iowa’s rich history.
Team members who prefer to spend their free time outdoors can experience the city’s 76 parks spanning more than 4,000 acres or hike the city’s 87 miles of trails.
5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Although Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is famous for its Amish population, the city offers much more than farmland. While the city itself is small, with about 59,000 residents, Lancaster has many big-city amenities without the high cost of living. Lancaster is also in a prime location for remote workers in the U.S. — Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are less than two hours away by car, and a train commute to Philadelphia takes under an hour.
Remote team members living in Lancaster can expect to pay less than USD 900 a month in gross median rent, and the annual median household income is USD 45,500 a year. The city is highly walkable and boasts a plethora of community business resources. Its top five industries are financial and professional services, live entertainment events and technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical packaging and distribution, and agribusiness.
Team members can continue their education by attending one of the 11 colleges and universities in the Lancaster area, including Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, or nearby Millersville University. The multiple higher education institutions in the area will also give your company a broader talent pool to choose from. However, only20 percent of the city’s population has a bachelor’s degree.
The city has 16 parks and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as a dog park for residents to enjoy time outdoors. Lancaster’s Central Park even has garden plot rentals available from April through October. Remote employees can also discover Pennsylvania Dutch culture by touring an Amish farm or exploring one of Lancaster’s many covered bridges. History fans will enjoy Central Market, the oldest farmer’s market in the country, while patrons of the arts can appreciate Gallery Row and the historic Fulton Theater.
6. Kansas City, Missouri
With a population of about 500,000, Kansas City, Missouri, has the hospitality of a small town with big-city amenities. The city’s welcoming residents and fast Wi-Fi speeds make it one of the top U.S. cities to hire remote workers.
The median gross rent is about USD 940 a month, while the median household income is around USD 54,200 a year. Kansas City is one of the most centrally located markets in the nation, serving as a hub for transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution. International companies can quickly move into the area, making Kansas City ideal for international trade.
You’ll also have a large pool of college graduates ready for employment, as the city is home to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Rockhurst University, and Kansas City University. The nearby University of Kansas-Edwards Campus in Overland Park also offers professional development programs so your current employees can enrich their skills. About 35 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree.
Kansas City’s more than 100 barbeque joints make the city a great place for meat lovers. Remote team members can also explore the city’s nearly 50 idyllic fountains, 122 sculptures and monuments, and plenty of jazz venues. Those who enjoy history and art can visit the National WWI Museum or the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Residents can go shopping at the posh commercial district: the Country Club Plaza. The city also boasts 221 parks spanning more than 12,000 acres of parkland, where locals can hike and bike 158 miles of trails and bikeways.
7. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona, has a population of nearly 550,000, more than 350 sunny days a year, and a thriving arts and culture scene, making the second-largest city in Arizona one of the best U.S. cities for remote workers.
The city is highly bikeable, and rent is affordable, with a median gross rent of less than USD 850 a month. The median household income is USD 43,400 a year. Tucson’s top industries include optics, astronomy, health and medicine, research and education, and aerospace and defense manufacturing.
Tucson is also home to The University of Arizona, one of the country’s top public research institutions. Current employees can further their education by taking classes in one of the university’s 300 major programs. About 27 percent of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Tucson is an excellent place to live for remote workers who like to spend time outdoors, with more than 130 parks spanning 27,000 acres. You’ll find plenty of wilderness areas and hiking trails. The city also offers multiple leisure classes like aquatics, musical theater, and pottery. Further, Tucson has a thriving arts and culture scene, hosting the Arizona Theatre Company, the Tucson Museum of Art, and many other art galleries, studios, and museums. Residents can also explore Tucson’s rich history at the world-renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
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