The 15 best cities for remote workers

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

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, have been 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 1) community and safety, 2) housing and living costs, and 3) 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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.

At the state level, Mountain and Midwest states like Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Minnesota offer inviting environments for remote workers, with those states earning some of the highest composite scores for working from home. For example, Wyoming has no income tax, which is appealing for high-income professionals. Idaho, like Utah, offers residents good weather, access to the outdoors, low crime rates, and a large proportion of single-family homes. On the other hand, Southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama provide less appealing settings for at-home work. Despite being affordable, these states tend to have higher poverty and crime rates, more variable weather, and less opportunities for physical activity.



In the city-level analysis, only cities with populations above 100,000 were considered. These areas are typically suburbs of major metropolitan areas, offer easier access to big-city amenities, and appeal to a wider range of workers. Residents in these locations could also theoretically commute to the urban center as needed in the future. For people looking for more rural towns with populations below 100,000 residents, RetailMeNot recommends seeking out locations in the best states for remote workers, especially Mountain states like Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. Like the best states to work from home, the top cities tend to also have lower tax rates, ideal weather for outdoor recreation, healthy citizens, and several other beneficial characteristics for people working from home.

Here are the 15 best cities for remote workers.


The Best Cities for Remote Workers

Photo Credit: Sandy Springs is a city in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA metro area / Alamy Stock Photo

15. Sandy Springs, GA

  • 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

Photo Credit: League City is a city in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX metro area / Alamy Stock Photo

14. League City, TX

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

13. Roseville, CA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

12. Carlsbad, CA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

11. Henderson, NV

  • 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

Photo Credit: Olathe is a city in the Kansas City, MO-KS metro area / Alamy Stock Photo

10. Olathe, KS

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Torrance, CA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Centennial, CO

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Thousand Oaks, CA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Carmel is a city in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN metro area / Alamy Stock Photo

6. Carmel, IN

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Fremont, CA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. Bellevue, WA

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Frisco, TX

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Cary, NC

  • 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

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Gilbert, AZ

  • 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

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.