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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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: Oct. 25, 2021

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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%

Read: 10 Unexpected Work-From-Home Jobs You Can Do Right Now

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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%

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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%

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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%

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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%

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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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.