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Upwork Report Finds Up to 23 Million Americans Plan to Relocate Amid Rising Remote Work Trends

New data reveals remote work provides greater geographic mobility for millions of Americans seeking housing in more affordable markets 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - October 29, 2020 - Upwork (Nasdaq: UPWK), the world's largest work marketplace, today released a new “Remote Workers on the Move” report, from Chief Economist, Adam Ozimek. Utilizing survey data from over 20,000 Americans, the report reveals that between 14-23 million of U.S. households intend to move in many cases out of major cities and into less expensive housing markets. The data shows this emerging migration pattern is the result of growing acceptance of remote work amid the pandemic.

The survey also finds the shift to remote work will increase near-term migration within the U.S. by three to four times the standard rate. Anywhere from 6.9% to 11.5% of households are planning to move. This emerging trend indicates a rise in geographic mobility and points to an expected increase in economic efficiency.

“Remote work presents a potential solution for those seeking job opportunities that don’t want to pay the high housing costs of a major city,” says Adam Ozimek, Upwork Chief Economist. “As our survey shows, many people see remote work as an opportunity to relocate to where they want and where they can afford to live. This is an early indicator of the much larger impacts that remote work could have in increasing economic efficiency and spreading opportunity.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Remote work will increase migration in the U.S.: Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work. Combined with those who are moving regardless of remote work, near-term migration rates may be three to four times what they normally are. 
  • Major cities will see the biggest out-migration: 20.6% of those planning to move are currently based in a major city. 
  • People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.
  • People are moving beyond regular commute distances: 54.7% of people are moving over two hours away or more from their current location, which is beyond daily or even weekly commuting distances for most.
  • Housing market data confirms that the highest priced markets are taking the biggest hits: Rental data from Apartments.com reveals that the top 10 percent most expensive markets saw a 13% percentage point larger decrease in rent prices than rental markets in the bottom 10 percent.

For the full report, please visit our site.

About Upwork

Upwork is the world’s largest work marketplace, connecting millions of businesses with independent talent around the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to 30% of the Fortune 100 with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and freelancers to work together in new ways that unlock their potential. Our talent community earned over $2 billion on Upwork in 2019 across more than 8,000 skills, including website & app development, creative & design, customer support, finance & accounting, consulting, and operations. Learn more at www.upwork.com and join us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.