The Best City To Live In If You Work Remotely

Have you ever dreamed of working from home, meaning you don't have to deal with a long road trip to the office or find the perfect employment-appropriate attire that you like? For many people, it's possible to work remotely. The U.S. Census Bureau shared that, in 2021, 27.6 million people in the country were doing just that, a figure that tripled from 2019 when just 9 million people were doing so. That led to a drop in the one-way travel time for employees, reducing it to just 25.6 minutes each day, the shortest commute time in the last decade.

Making a move to work from home isn't always easy. Though you may have family circumstances to consider and if there's a space for you to use as an office, the city you live in also matters, as some areas offer more opportunities and may even make it more financially possible. A recent survey found that some cities do it better than others. You may want to move to one of these areas if you're serious about skipping the commute for good.

Austin, Texas

In a survey from SmartAsset, a fintech company, researchers analyzed the best cities to work from home and ranked Austin, Texas, top of that list. As reported by CNBC, Austin has plenty to offer to those who wish to skip the drive. According to their research, SmartAsset shared that 38.8% of residents work from their homes rather than at a job site. The city also has many coffee shops from which people could work, making up 1% of all establishments.

Another factor contributing to Austin's top ranking is the lack of state income tax, which may mean lower financial burdens on workers, especially when you don't have to think twice about gas prices or to buy lunch daily. The city is known for its high traffic rates, as noted by Home & Money, which makes it even more beneficial not to drive down I-35 or the surrounding areas each day. The site also reports that job growth in the city is expected to continue to rise, making the possibilities for more remote positions numerous. 

Scottsdale, Arizona

The second city on the list of top places to work from home is Scottsdale, Arizona, as noted by the SmartAsset report. The city has a low-income tax rate of just 22.9% for those earning $75,000 per year and median housing costs of about $1,623. The survey found that 34.9% of residents here don't leave their houses to work each day, up from 24.2% just five years ago.

Many people decide to retire to Scottsdale, thanks partly to its incredibly year-round weather and many amenities. Yet, for those that want to benefit from those golf courses, luxury homes, and perfect winter weather, retiring from a full-time, in-person job to work from home could be just as beneficial. The city has many other reasons to choose it, including some of the country's top-rated hospitals and excellent schools, if you're considering moving. The lack of public transportation and sometimes crowded highways are also appealing reasons to go remote as well, as noted by Retirepedia.

Pittsburgh, PA

The city in the SmartAsset survey with the most affordable median housing costs at just $985 ranks No. 3 on the list of the best places to work from home. Here, the income taxes are slightly higher at 24.37% for those earning $75,000 per year. About 30.3% of residents now manage to stay home for their jobs, up from 25.5% five years ago. 

That lower housing cost could mean purchasing a larger home to make room for office space or a workshop, but there are other reasons the city is so remote-work friendly. Home & Money points out that sports lovers can catch many professional sports team games, perhaps, after logging out of work. The lower overall cost of living, which is less than many other large cities in the country, makes it an attractive choice. Some of the most in-demand jobs here include software development, customer service representatives, and administrative assistants, which may be remote opportunities in some organizations.

Chandler, Arizona

Chandler is known for many things, including some outstanding STEM programs, proximity to Phoenix's economic center, and luxury homes, according to LivinginPhoenixAZ. The long commute times, though, have made traveling into the city a problem for many, and they seem to be getting worse as the area's population grows. Some even share that traffic around Chandler during rush hour is unbearable.

The SmartAsset survey ranked Chandler, Arizona, No. 4 on its remote work cities. Here, the median housing costs are around $1,573 per month, and the income tax rate is 22.9%, one of the lowest in the ranking. That's why as many as 29.1% of residents are now staying home to earn their paycheck, up from 23.3% five years ago. The city is noted for its high quality of life, including fantastic shopping and dining, golf courses, and ample parks. With a bit more money in your pocket from not having to pay high gas prices, it could be worth a move to Chandler. 

Durham, North Carolina

For those who want to live about two hours from the ocean, consider Durham, North Carolina, the fifth city on the list. Durham has a cost of living that's just 1% higher than the national average, with low utility costs and moderate food prices, according to PayScale. It also reports the average cost of gas was $4.06 per gallon in December of 2022. Working from home is sure to cut out some of that budget.

The SmartAsset survey shared that Durham's median housing costs in 2021 were $1,261, one of the most affordable on the list and providing room for people to buy a larger home to make room for their job. More so, 84% of homes here have two or more bedrooms. The income tax rate is 24.8%, a bit higher but still competitive. About 31.6% of residents worked from home here, up from 26.8% just five years ago. Alcove also notes the city is noted for its numerous tech and research companies and artistic-focused entrepreneurs. Residents could easily head out to enjoy the outdoors on a long walk, such as in Duke Forest, instead of spending their time on the freeways.