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No, Most Remote Employees Aren't Working on the Beach. This Survey Reveals Where They Actually Live. The urban exodus was real — but many white-collar workers never left.

By Amanda Breen

One of the often-touted benefits of working from home is the freedom it allows — in theory, you can work remotely anywhere with a decent WiFi connection.

But according to data from the 2021 edition of the American Community Survey, working from home doesn't mean working from the beach. In fact, many remote workers didn't go far from major metropolitan areas.

Related: 20 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work From Home

So, even though many Americans are embracing remote work — and want even more of it, per McKinsey — it's not impacting where they choose to live as much as one might expect.

Urban neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; New York; and Chicago snagged some of the top spots, with work-from-home rates of 56.6% (Central), 56.2% (Inner Mission and Castro), 55.2% (Queen Ann and Magnolia), 53.3% (Park Slope and others) and 50.5% (Lake View and Lincoln Park), respectively.

Overall, working from home in exurbs and mountain resorts remains less common.

El Dorado County, California; Bainbridge Island and Silverdale, Washington; Windsor Town, Healdsburg and Sonoma, California; and Santa Fe, New Mexico ranking highly at 25.2%, 24.9%, 24.9%, and 24.3%, respectively.

Related: What the Work-From-Home Boom Means for Your Future

Per Bloomberg, the pandemic did cause an urban exodus, increasing demand for houses in exurbs and mountain resorts — but most white-collar workers remained.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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