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Before It Became the Norm, Which States Had the Most Remote Workers?

·12 min read
Drazen_ / Getty Images
Drazen_ / Getty Images

Along with the rise in unemployment, the U.S. has seen a surge of people working remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a Gallup poll, 62% of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the crisis. Despite the challenges of working from home, these Americans can consider themselves lucky to still have a paycheck coming in during these challenging times.

Even before the coronavirus struck, working remotely was a growing trend in the U.S. An analysis by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that the number of people working remotely had grown 44% over the past five years. It had grown 91% over the past 10 years.

That said, remote workers still made up just a small percentage of the overall workforce prior to the crisis that forced employees out of offices and into their homes. Only about 5% of the workforce was working remotely as of the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey.

Find Out: These States Have the Best Chance To Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Unemployment Tsunami

However, that percentage varied greatly from state to state, GOBankingRates found. Using Census Bureau data, GOBankingRates identified what percentage of each state’s workforce worked from home. Then it ranked the states from the smallest to the largest percentage of remote workers, with the top state being the one with the largest share of its workforce made up of remote workers.

Most states in the West had a higher percentage of remote workers than the national average of 4.93%. States with a lower percentage of remote workers tended to be in the Midwest and South. In fact, the bottom six states all were in the South.

Now that working remotely has become the norm for more workers, many are reluctant to go back to work in an office. The Gallup poll found that 59% of workers who’ve been doing their jobs from home would like to continue to work remotely as much as possible. As stay-at-home orders are lifted, it will be interesting to see if states that already had a higher-than-average percentage of remote workers will witness that percentage rise even more.

Save: Best Checking Accounts of 2021: High APYs & Low Fees

See if your state is among those where remote work was more commonplace or a rarity. You might find yourself back in an office soon if you live in one of the states expected to bounce back quickly from the coronavirus.

Last updated: Jan. 22, 2021

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

50. Mississippi

  • Total number of workers: 1,215,697

  • Number of remote workers: 27,779

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,187,918

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 2.29%

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

49. Louisiana

  • Total number of workers: 2,007,599

  • Number of remote workers: 60,290

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,947,309

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.00%

Michael Warren / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Michael Warren / Getty Images/iStockphoto

48. Alabama

  • Total number of workers: 2,051,445

  • Number of remote workers: 66,881

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,984,564

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.26%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

47. West Virginia

  • Total number of workers: 727,792

  • Number of remote workers: 24,213

  • Number of non-remote workers: 703,579

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.33%

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

46. Arkansas

  • Total number of workers: 1,274,750

  • Number of remote workers: 43,457

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,231,293

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.41%

hstiver / Getty Images/iStockphoto
hstiver / Getty Images/iStockphoto

45. Kentucky

  • Total number of workers: 1,929,677

  • Number of remote workers: 69,702

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,859,975

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.61%

Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images
Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images

44. Indiana

  • Total number of workers: 3,107,072

  • Number of remote workers: 116,603

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,990,469

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.75%

espiegle / Getty Images/iStockphoto
espiegle / Getty Images/iStockphoto

43. Michigan

  • Total number of workers: 4,504,994

  • Number of remote workers: 174,997

  • Number of non-remote workers: 4,329,997

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.88%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

42. Nevada

  • Total number of workers: 1,351,950

  • Number of remote workers: 53,538

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,298,412

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.96%

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

41. Rhode Island

  • Total number of workers: 515,872

  • Number of remote workers: 20,430

  • Number of non-remote workers: 495,442

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 3.96%

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

40. Oklahoma

  • Total number of workers: 1,748,344

  • Number of remote workers: 70,248

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,678,096

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.02%

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

39. Ohio

  • Total number of workers: 5,442,764

  • Number of remote workers: 220,315

  • Number of non-remote workers: 5,222,449

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.05%

Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

38. South Carolina

  • Total number of workers: 2,215,014

  • Number of remote workers: 91,900

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,123,114

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.15%

Ingus Kruklitis / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ingus Kruklitis / Getty Images/iStockphoto

37. New York

  • Total number of workers: 9,246,571

  • Number of remote workers: 389,169

  • Number of non-remote workers: 8,857,402

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.21%

Check Out: 38 Companies Hiring for Remote Jobs Right Now

Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

36. Tennessee

  • Total number of workers: 3,003,226

  • Number of remote workers: 130,652

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,872,574

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.35%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

35. New Jersey

  • Total number of workers: 4,303,118

  • Number of remote workers: 188,430

  • Number of non-remote workers: 4,114,688

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.38%

steveodonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto
steveodonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

34. Nebraska

  • Total number of workers: 980,914

  • Number of remote workers: 43,544

  • Number of non-remote workers: 937,370

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.44%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

33. Kansas

  • Total number of workers: 1,422,992

  • Number of remote workers: 63,382

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,359,610

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.45%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32. Wisconsin

  • Total number of workers: 2,920,388

  • Number of remote workers: 131,484

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,788,904

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.50%

peeterv / Getty Images/iStockphoto
peeterv / Getty Images/iStockphoto

31. Pennsylvania

  • Total number of workers: 6,032,013

  • Number of remote workers: 280,424

  • Number of non-remote workers: 5,751,589

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.65%

Roman Sorokin / Shutterstock.com
Roman Sorokin / Shutterstock.com

30. Alaska

  • Total number of workers: 358,627

  • Number of remote workers: 16,731

  • Number of non-remote workers: 341,896

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.67%

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

29. Texas

  • Total number of workers: 12,842,820

  • Number of remote workers: 604,052

  • Number of non-remote workers: 12,238,768

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.70%

Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kruck20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

28. Maryland

  • Total number of workers: 3,021,967

  • Number of remote workers: 142,425

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,879,542

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.71%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

27. North Dakota

  • Total number of workers: 398,937

  • Number of remote workers: 18,923

  • Number of non-remote workers: 380,014

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.74%

Mlenny / Getty Images
Mlenny / Getty Images

26. Illinois

  • Total number of workers: 6,124,144

  • Number of remote workers: 290,729

  • Number of non-remote workers: 5,833,415

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.75%

pabradyphoto / Getty Images
pabradyphoto / Getty Images

25. Iowa

  • Total number of workers: 1,583,271

  • Number of remote workers: 75,272

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,507,999

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.75%

Work From Home: The Best and Worst Things About Working From Home

gcgebel / Getty Images/iStockphoto
gcgebel / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24. Hawaii

  • Total number of workers: 700,228

  • Number of remote workers: 33,352

  • Number of non-remote workers: 666,876

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.76%

Tory Garcia / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Tory Garcia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23. Missouri

  • Total number of workers: 2,855,663

  • Number of remote workers: 137,750

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,717,913

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.82%

ivanastar / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ivanastar / Getty Images/iStockphoto

22. New Mexico

  • Total number of workers: 880,271

  • Number of remote workers: 42,468

  • Number of non-remote workers: 837,803

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.82%

pabradyphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
pabradyphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21. Delaware

  • Total number of workers: 444,908

  • Number of remote workers: 21,633

  • Number of non-remote workers: 423,275

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 4.86%

garytog / Getty Images/iStockphoto
garytog / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. Virginia

  • Total number of workers: 4,152,433

  • Number of remote workers: 207,721

  • Number of non-remote workers: 3,944,712

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.00%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19. Massachusetts

  • Total number of workers: 3,500,223

  • Number of remote workers: 176,034

  • Number of non-remote workers: 3,324,189

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.03%

benedek / Getty Images
benedek / Getty Images

18. Connecticut

  • Total number of workers: 1,780,653

  • Number of remote workers: 90,566

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,690,087

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.09%

Davel5957 / Getty Images
Davel5957 / Getty Images

17. Wyoming

  • Total number of workers: 287,175

  • Number of remote workers: 14,851

  • Number of non-remote workers: 272,324

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.17%

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16. North Carolina

  • Total number of workers: 4,660,377

  • Number of remote workers: 253,038

  • Number of non-remote workers: 4,407,339

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.43%

graphiknation / Getty Images/iStockphoto
graphiknation / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Georgia

  • Total number of workers: 4,667,378

  • Number of remote workers: 254,502

  • Number of non-remote workers: 4,412,876

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.45%

3841128876 / Shutterstock.com
3841128876 / Shutterstock.com

14. Minnesota

  • Total number of workers: 2,879,806

  • Number of remote workers: 162,940

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,716,866

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.66%

NicolasMcComber / Getty Images/iStockphoto
NicolasMcComber / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. California

  • Total number of workers: 17,904,213

  • Number of remote workers: 1,020,810

  • Number of non-remote workers: 16,883,403

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.70%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

12. South Dakota

  • Total number of workers: 436,525

  • Number of remote workers: 25,056

  • Number of non-remote workers: 411,469

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.74%

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

11. Maine

  • Total number of workers: 651,799

  • Number of remote workers: 37,525

  • Number of non-remote workers: 614,274

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.76%

anouchka / Getty Images/iStockphoto
anouchka / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Florida

  • Total number of workers: 9,140,393

  • Number of remote workers: 534,519

  • Number of non-remote workers: 8,605,874

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.85%

Yan Lu / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Yan Lu / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Washington

  • Total number of workers: 3,485,339

  • Number of remote workers: 207,176

  • Number of non-remote workers: 3,278,163

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 5.94%

Pgiam / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Pgiam / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. Arizona

  • Total number of workers: 3,008,707

  • Number of remote workers: 182,728

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,825,979

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.07%

knowlesgallery / Getty Images/iStockphoto
knowlesgallery / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Idaho

  • Total number of workers: 757,408

  • Number of remote workers: 46,006

  • Number of non-remote workers: 711,402

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.07%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Utah

  • Total number of workers: 1,433,444

  • Number of remote workers: 88,266

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,345,178

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.16%

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. New Hampshire

  • Total number of workers: 707,037

  • Number of remote workers: 45,262

  • Number of non-remote workers: 661,775

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.40%

peeterv / Getty Images/iStockphoto
peeterv / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Montana

  • Total number of workers: 499,849

  • Number of remote workers: 32,503

  • Number of non-remote workers: 467,346

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.50%

Kyle Sprague / Shutterstock.com
Kyle Sprague / Shutterstock.com

3. Oregon

  • Total number of workers: 1,895,393

  • Number of remote workers: 129,763

  • Number of non-remote workers: 1,765,630

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.85%

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Vermont

  • Total number of workers: 321,624

  • Number of remote workers: 22,275

  • Number of non-remote workers: 299,349

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 6.93%

georgeclerk / Getty Images
georgeclerk / Getty Images

1. Colorado

  • Total number of workers: 2,822,072

  • Number of remote workers: 218,214

  • Number of non-remote workers: 2,603,858

  • Percentage of workforce that worked remotely prior to the coronavirus: 7.73%

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the states with the most remote workers, GOBankingRates used the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey data on workers aged 16 and older. GOBankingRates pulled data on (1) the total number of workers who worked from home and (2) the total number of workers 16 and over in every state in order to calculate (3) the percent of each state’s workforce that worked from home at the time of reporting. States were then ranked on factor No. 3, with the No. 1 state being the one with the largest share of its workforce comprised of remote workers, and No. 50 being the state with the smallest. GOBankingRates also provided the March 2020 unemployment rate in each state from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as supplemental information.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Before It Became the Norm, Which States Had the Most Remote Workers?