- Remote work remains popular, but the opportunities seem to be dwindling.
- For those who want to or already do work remotely, WalletHub ranked the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- It analyzed a dozen factors including the cost of living and the average cost of Internet access.
Remote work became a necessity during COVID lockdowns and has remained popular although some employers have tried a variety of methods, including hybrid work mandates and threats of outsourcing, to bring workers back into offices.
In the last few weeks, Meta stopped offering remote work in newly posted job openings, reports emerged of pay cuts for remote employees, and at least one CEO outsourced a job to save money after an employee asked to go remote. Wall Street’s largest bank, JPMorgan, also told managing directors to be in the office five days a week.
For those who still work remotely — about 12% of US workers according to a recent report from WFH research — personal finance website WalletHub recently released a ranking of the best states for remote workers in 2023.
It divided a set of a dozen metrics into two categories with differing point values: work environment and living environment. Work environment includes factors like what percent of residents already do, or possibly could, work from home, cybersecurity, and the rate of homes in the state that have internet access.
Living environment encompasses a wider range of factors, including the average cost of electricity and internet access, as well as the average home size and the likelihood that the home may be overcrowded, and not conducive to productivity. Living and work environment scores were used to create an overall composite score per state.
Sparsely populated states that may not have widely accessible internet access or have few people working remotely like Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana rounded out the bottom of the list. Several of the most populated states did not make the top 10, including California, Texas, Florida, and New York — but they were in the top 25.
Here are WalletHub’s top 10 states to live in as a remote worker:
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Delaware was scored as the best state for remote workers, with the second-best working environment, and the 11th-best living environment.
The state’s tourism website has added a remote work-related section, advertising popular hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions across the state.
Utah is the second-best state for remote workers, scored with the sixth-best work environment and fourth-best living environment.
Heber City, Utah, had the seventh-highest rate of residents working remotely, with 14.5% doing their jobs from home, according to a September report from the Salt Lake Tribune. WalletHub’s new study rates Utah as the state with the fourth-highest share of its population working from home.
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Baltimore is the third-best state for remote workers, with the fourth-best working environment, but only the 17th-best living environment.
The state is top 10 in terms of internet cost and access, and had the 12th-highest share of its population working from home.
Connecticut is the fourth-best state for remote workers, with the 12th-best working environment and sixth-best living environment.
Connecticut boasted the second-best rate of internet access among its households, according to WalletHub.
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New Jersey had one of the widest gaps among top 10 states between the two categories, ranking as the fifth-best remote work state with the fifth-best work environment, but a middle-of-the-road, 26th-place living environment.
New Jersey had the fourth-best rate of internet access among its households. State officials and lawmakers have considered introducing tax benefits to lure companies that allow remote work to the state, according to NorthJersey.com.
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The only non-state on the list, WalletHub evaluated the District of Columbia separately from Maryland and Virginia. Washington easily had the widest gap between the two categories, with the best working environment but the second to last place living environment.
The capital city has the highest share of its population working from home, four times higher than the 51st-place state Mississippi, and the second-best average cost of internet, but the third worst ranking of cybersecurity.
A recent Washington Post poll revealed that nearly half of DC residents surveyed said their job could be done from home, and about 85% of those who could work from home said they are either entirely remote (37%) or have a hybrid arrangement (48%).
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Georgia posted another wide gap between its categories as the seventh-best state for remote workers, with the 27th-best working environment, but the first-place living environment.
Georgia had the fourth-best average internet cost in WalletHub’s study, and CNBC reported that the state saw an increase in its population of remote workers since the onset of the pandemic.
Arizona is the eighth-best state for remote workers, with the ninth-place work environment and the fifth-best living environment.
“Trying to un-ring that bell and bring employees back into offices on an ongoing basis because that was the pre-pandemic model may be frustratingly difficult as many employees have gotten a taste of remote work as a viable work arrangement,” University of Arizona professor Joseph Broschak told WalletHub.
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Washington ranked as the ninth-best state for remote work, and is the only state that is ranked in the top 10 despite both categories being outside the top 10, with the 11th place working environment and 19th-best living environment.
It tied with Vermont for the fifth-highest rate of remote workers, and ranked third in average internet access and average cost of electricity.
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Colorado had the 10th-best working environment, and seventh-best living environment.
Colorado claimed the second highest percentage of residents working from home, but ranked 49th in the rate of residents that could do their job remotely.
See WalletHub’s full ranking of every state here.