GOBankingRates

15 Cities Where You Can Thrive Without a Full-Time Job

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The pandemic taught Americans one big thing when it comes to their work: If you have a good internet connection, and a spot you can carve into a quiet office space, there are a lot of jobs that can be done from home. That isn’t news to the estimated 67 million Americans who are freelancers. And that number is expected to rise to 86.5 million — or more than half the workforce — by 2027, according to research from Statista.

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Because freelancers can work, and live, anywhere, GOBankingRates took a look at the best cities for freelancers to call home. The study took into consideration the cost of rent, state and federal income taxes paid, and ease of getting around the city on foot, by bike or via public transit. The end results assume the freelancer rents a one-bedroom apartment, earns the average annual freelance salary of $67,139 and files income taxes as a single person.

The 15 cities listed reflect a combination of cheap housing, low taxes and convenient transportation, along with fast internet and the assumption of plenty of coffee shops where you can work.

Here are the best places to live if you’re a freelancer. 

Last updated: Feb. 10, 2021

Make Your Money Work Better for You
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St. Petersburg, Florida

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,210
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 47

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Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $840
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 30

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Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,000
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 40

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Houston, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,100
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 45

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Arlington, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $950
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 40

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Make Your Money Work Better for You
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San Antonio

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $950
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 39
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Tucson, Arizona

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $730
  • Federal and state income taxes: $9,402
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 48
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Memphis, Tennessee

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $830
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 40
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Tallahassee, Florida

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 37
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Akron, Ohio

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $600
  • Federal and state income taxes: $9,165
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 41

Keep Reading: The Best and Worst Things About Working From Home

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Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $850
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 40

Make Your Money Work Better for You
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Spokane, Washington

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $880
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 46
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El Paso, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $710
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 38

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Lubbock, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $650
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 36
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Laredo, Texas

  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $650
  • Federal and state income taxes: $7,758
  • Combined walkability, bike and transit score: 43

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Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Methodology: To discover 15 cities where you can thrive without a full-time job GOBankingRates analyzed a number of factors. First, GOBankingRates found the (1) median rent for a one-bedroom apartment, according to Zumper.com’s “National Rent Report: February 2021” for 100 of America’s largest cities. Then, the annual salary for a freelancer ($67,139) was sourced from ZipRecruiter and was held constant for every city. Next, GOBankingRates found the (2) total income tax paid (federal and state) by a person single-filing and using the standard deduction in each city, as calculated using an in-house income tax calculator with tax bracket information sourced from the Tax Foundation. Then, GOBankingRates found (3) the average internet speed (Mbps) for each city as sourced from BroadbandNow.com and (4) a getting around score sourced from WalkScore.com’s walk, transit and bike score for each city. These four factors were then scored and combined with the lowest score being best. In final calculations factor (1) was weighted 2x and factor (3) was weighted 0.5x. All data was collected on and is up to date as of Jan. 27, 2021.