Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and global labor markets experienced an unprecedented shift toward remote work in 2020. This trend is expected to increase interest in the digital nomadic lifestyle in 2021 and beyond, as employees who have become remote employees begin to explore their new geographic freedom.
According to a study by MBO Partners, at least 11 million Americans currently work as digital nomads. The independent talent provider found that the number of traditional workers identified as digital nomads grew from 3.2 million to 6.3 million in 2020, an increase of 96%. The number of freelancers and independent contractors increased by 12% in the same period.
While some long-standing digital nomads like to travel the world for years on end, younger remote workers may prefer to test the waters with shorter trips. Ongoing pandemic-related travel restrictions may also encourage many remote workers to choose domestic travel over international adventures in 2021.
With that in mind, Zillow teamed up with Yelp to ranks the US metropolitan areas most favorable for digital nomads. The list omits the most populous cities in the country in favor of smaller, less obvious markets that have a lot to offer remote workers.
The locations were scored based on the accessibility of rental properties under 12 months and the availability of services that are normally important for digital nomads, such as seasonal rentals, car and trailer repairs, outdoor activities and nightlife.
“These destinations offer a mix of outdoor adventure and city benefits that attract many young professionals who have made the transition to the nomadic lifestyle due to their newfound ability to work anywhere,” said Tara Lewis, a specialist in Yelp trends.
Here are the main US metropolitan areas for digital nomads to live in 2021, according to Zillow and Yelp:
1. Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville offers year-round sunny weather, 35 miles of sandy coastline off some of Florida’s best beaches and a plethora of desirable services and activities, including shared offices, furniture assembly, golf lessons and brewery tours.
Average rental rate in Jacksonville: $ 960 a month.
2. Austin, Texas
Known for its musical, artistic and gastronomic scenes, Austin is expected to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States in 2021. It also offers the most friendly amenities to the digital nomads on the list, including coworking spaces and furniture rental services. .
Average rental rates in Austin: $ 1,323 per month.
3. Boise, Idaho
Boise is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors, with many rivers, lakes and hiking trails. It also offers many essential services for digital nomads with mobile homes, including trailer repair and RV parking.
Average rental rates in Boise: $ 1,495 per month.
4. Nashville, Tennessee
Remote workers who love country music, good food and shopping will feel right at home in Nashville. This city has everything a digital worker needs.
Average rental rates in Nashville: $ 1,369 per month.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is full of rental properties, top-notch restaurants and outdoor activities.
Average rental rates in Charleston: $ 1,645 a month.
6. San Jose, California
While it is no surprise that Silicon Valley is packed with all the services that a digital nomad might need, newcomers can be pleasantly surprised by its growing international food and outdoor scene nearby.
Average rental rates in San Jose: $ 2,511 per month.
7. Fort Collins, Colorado
Beer lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will love Fort Collins’ stellar line of craft breweries and the extensive network of parks and hiking trails.
Average rental rates in Fort Collins: $ 1,795 per month.
8. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is known for its live bluegrass music, incredible cuisine and easy access to the Appalachian Mountains.
Average rental rates in North Carolina: $ 1,782 per month.
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
It is not a gamble for remote workers to open a store in Las Vegas. The Strip offers many services, nightlife and shopping, and the surrounding area offers ample hiking trails and outdoor activities. Housing is also plentiful and relatively inexpensive.
Average rental rates in Las Vegas: $ 1,275 per month.
10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Digital nomads who love skiing, cycling, camping or fishing will want to take a look at Salt Lake City. The city is home to some of the best ski slopes in the world and offers an enviable list of outdoor recreational activities.
Average rental rates in Salt Lake City: $ 1,761 per month.