The 15 Best Cities for Working From Home

Happy woman working from home on laptop
Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on RetailMeNot.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many businesses and workers, it has led to greater flexibility for workers in some industries.

Employees at major tech companies, including Twitter and Google, for example, granted extended opportunities to work from home, sometimes permanently. These changes have afforded many people the ability to work and live where they want, rather than being bound to large cities where their employers have offices.

This shift is leading many workers toward “Zoom towns” — cities that are booming as remote work becomes more popular.

While much of the U.S. is experiencing rising home values during the pandemic as a result of low inventory, areas experiencing the largest booms are these Zoom towns, which are increasingly attracting well-educated laptop workers with lower living costs, access to outdoor recreation, and strong (albeit less dense) communities.

Unfortunately for many workers, the opportunity for remote work and the ability to relocate to these cities are often only available to workers in tech, financial services, sales, and other similar roles that can be performed remotely.

To find the best locations to work from home, researchers at RetailMeNot ranked cities and states based on several metrics related to community and safety, housing and living costs, health and weather. In general, the researchers wanted to identify the most affordable locations with low crime rates, good weather for outdoor recreation, and well-educated, healthy populations, among other factors.

Their researchers sourced data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI, National Centers for Environment Information, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau to create a composite score for each city.

Here are the best cities for remote workers.

15. Sandy Springs, GA

Sandy Springs, Georgia
Alan Hettinger / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 84.02
  • Community & safety: 95.61
  • Housing & living costs: 69.17
  • Health & weather: 87.29
  • Metro area: Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

14. League City, TX

League City, Texas
SevenMaps / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 84.97
  • Community & safety: 93.05
  • Housing & living costs: 79.81
  • Health & weather: 82.04
  • Metro area: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

13. Roseville, CA

Roseville, California
Devin Powers / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 84.99
  • Community & safety: 90.48
  • Housing & living costs: 72.06
  • Health & weather: 92.41
  • Metro area: Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

12. Carlsbad, CA

Carlsbad, California
Kyle Sprague / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 85.04
  • Community & safety: 88.52
  • Housing & living costs: 68.87
  • Health & weather: 97.73
  • Metro area: San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

11. Henderson, NV

Henderson, Nevada aerial photo
Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 85.11
  • Community & safety: 84.95
  • Housing & living costs: 87.49
  • Health & weather: 82.90
  • Metro area: Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

10. Olathe, KS

Olathe, Kansas
Dana Arriaga / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 85.32
  • Community & safety: 94.28
  • Housing & living costs: 79.22
  • Health & weather: 82.48
  • Metro area: Kansas City, MO-KS

9. Torrance, CA

Torrance, California
KevinKim / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 85.38
  • Community & safety: 92.23
  • Housing & living costs: 67.10
  • Health & weather: 96.80
  • Metro area: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

8. Centennial, CO

Centennial, Colorado
Faina Gurevich / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 86.21
  • Community & safety: 90.13
  • Housing & living costs: 79.52
  • Health & weather: 88.98
  • Metro area: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

7. Thousand Oaks, CA

Thousand Oaks, California
trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 86.71
  • Community & safety: 95.99
  • Housing & living costs: 71.80
  • Health & weather: 92.34
  • Metro area: Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

6. Carmel, IN

Carmel, Indiana
Golden Ratio Photos / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 86.86
  • Community & safety: 94.75
  • Housing & living costs: 81.00
  • Health & weather: 84.83
  • Metro area: Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

5. Fremont, CA

Fremont California traffic
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 86.94
  • Community & safety: 94.00
  • Housing & living costs: 68.97
  • Health & weather: 97.86
  • Metro area: San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

4. Bellevue, WA

Bellevue, Washington
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 87.59
  • Community & safety: 93.23
  • Housing & living costs: 72.18
  • Health & weather: 97.35
  • Metro area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

3. Frisco, TX

Houses in Frisco, Texas
Fred Mays / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 87.73
  • Community & safety: 97.11
  • Housing & living costs: 76.88
  • Health & weather: 89.19
  • Metro area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

2. Cary, NC

Cary, North Carolina
KAD Photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 88.55
  • Community & safety: 98.23
  • Housing & living costs: 77.93
  • Health & weather: 89.49
  • Metro area: Raleigh-Cary, NC

1. Gilbert, AZ

Gilbert, Arizona
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall work-from-home score: 91.04
  • Community & safety: 95.24
  • Housing & living costs: 85.14
  • Health & weather: 92.74
  • Metro area: Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ

Methodology & detailed findings

Working on computer data analysis on a laptop
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

To identify the best cities for remote workers, RetailMeNot created a composite work-from-home score based on the following factors:

Community & safety (1/3)

  • Educational attainment
  • Poverty and unemployment rates
  • Crime rates
  • Share of workers who work from home

Housing & living costs (1/3)

  • Median home price
  • Share of housing units that are single-family homes
  • State income tax rate
  • Property tax rate
  • Cost of goods, services, and rents

Health & weather (1/3)

  • Share of adults in good physical health
  • Share of adults in good mental health
  • Share of adults that are physically active
  • Weather (mild temperatures and low precipitation)

Only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included in the analysis.

Additionally, to improve relevance, only one city per metropolitan area was included in the final list of cities.

Data were sourced from the following surveys and reports: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 500 Cities Project; Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Program; National Centers for Environment Information Climate at a Glance; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Price Parities; U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey; U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections.

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