The concept of remote working is becoming increasingly more popular in the US but it has taken off in some states more than others. Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana head a list of some of the states in which a significant portion of the population telecommutes full time.
This new reality of employee flexibility isn’t as popular in every state, however. The United States Census Bureau recently released their “American Community Survey,” with data on where the majority of remote workers live. It also ranks the states based on the percentage of the population that works remotely from top to bottom.
The Census Bureau’s list had ten states at the bottom of the list. There’s no definitive reasoning for why these states are at the lowest. Some are dominated by industries that aren’t teleworking-friendly. Some are ranked low but increasing every year as they adapt to the new normal of telecommuting as a viable option for a wide variety of industries.
Here are the ten states with the least number of full-time remote workers:
In Nevada, only 3.6 percent of its population works remotely full-time. Major industries in Nevada include mining, natural resources technologies, aerospace and defense, and of course, the tourism and gaming industry. These are not fields that lend themselves to telework–though the state’s development in the information technology space is encouraging.
Also at 3.6 percent is Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a fairly large concentration of aviation and aerospace firms, particularly in the Oklahoma City area.
8. South Carolina
South Carolina is the third state on this list with 3.6 percent of its population telecommuting. South Carolina is known for its great vacation spots and has a booming tourism industry due to its many beaches and islands.
Moving up a tenth of a percentage point, Indiana comes in next with 3.5 percent of its population working remotely. The automotive industry is still Indiana’s leading industry. This isn’t necessarily a sector that promotes remote work.
The Bluegrass State may be the home of prize-winning thoroughbreds, but it still has room for improvement from the perspective of remote work. Only 3.3 percent of Kentucky’s population works remotely.
While only 3.2 percent of the Arkansas population works remotely, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for state residents who one day hope to work from home or telecommute. The number of Arkansas workers who telecommute rose by 14.3 percent in 2017.
4. West Virginia
The beautiful Appalachian Mountains and coal mining are what West Virginia is known for. Unfortunately for residents of that state looking to adopt a flexible working arrangement, telecommuting is not. Only 3.1 percent of the population worked remotely. There are a few West Virginia-based companies offering remote work, however, including MedExpress, the Weirton Medical Center, and the West Virginia Farmers Market Association.
Next up: Alabama, where a minuscule 2.9 percent of the population works remotely. This number is on an upward trend, however. Alabama came in at third place on the Census Bureau’s fastest growing telecommuting populations, growing by 16.9 percent in 2017. Alabama’s information technology sector jobs are growing as well, which is good news for telecommuters in IT, an industry that is notoriously remote work-friendly. For example, AT&T employs over 6,000 people in Alabama.
The penultimate state on the list, Louisiana has only 2.6 percent of its population telecommuting. Tourism, maritime transportation, oil, fishing, and agriculture are the dominant industries on the Bayou.
Coming in last as the state with the least number of full-time remote workers is Mississippi, where only 2.2 percent of the population works remotely. While this small number doesn’t look promising for telecommuters at first glance, it helps to dive a little deeper. Much like Alabama and Arkansas, Louisiana saw one of the highest increases in remote workers in recent years, growing by 15.8 percent.