The U.S. Census Bureau today released a report describing trends in working from home before and after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March 2020. The report, Home-Based Workers and the COVID-19 Pandemic, uses 2019 and 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates to compare teleworking sociodemographic, geographic and occupational patterns the year before and after the pandemic’s onset.
- The number and percent of home-based workers more than tripled between 2019 and 2021, from 5.7% (roughly 9 million workers) to 17.9% (about 28 million workers).
- The share of women working from home increased from 50.7% of home-based workers in 2019 to 51.3% in 2021.
- About 20% of workers in the public administration industry, over 36% in the professional, scientific, management and administrative industry, and nearly 40% of workers in the finance, insurance and real estate industry worked from home in 2021.
- Among the lowest-earning income decile, the percentage working from home increased from about 6% in 2019 to nearly 12% in 2021. Within the highest-earning income decile, the percentage working from home rose from about 11% to nearly 38%.
- Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home increased in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
- Among the 57 U.S. metro areas with a million or more residents, 11 had 25% or more home-based workers in 2021. Five of these 11 metro areas are in the West, four in the South, and one each in the Northeast and Midwest.
The ACS is a nationwide survey designed to provide timely and reliable data every year on the demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics of the nation, states, counties and other localities. More information on the ACS sample design and other topics is available on the Census’s Bureau’s ACS webpage.
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