People working from home have become younger, more diverse, better educated and more likely to move during the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to survey data from the US Census Bureau.
In many ways, the demographic composition of people working from home from 2019 to 2021 has become closer to commuters, while the share of the US workforce working from home has increased from 5.7% in 2019 to 17.9% in 2021 as restrictions were implemented to help slow the spread of the virus, according to a report released last week based on data from the American Community Survey.
“The increase in the number of homeworkers corresponds with a decline in the number of drivers, carpoolers, transit riders and most other types of commuters,” the report said.
The share of people working from home between the ages of 25 and 34 increased from 16% to 23% from 2019 to 2021. The share of homeworkers who are black increased from 7.8% to 9.5%, and it is increased from 5.7% to 9.6% for Asian workers. It remained stable for Hispanic workers, according to the report.
The share of homeworkers with a college degree also rose from just over half to over two-thirds, and people working from home were more likely to have moved in the past year than those working from home. commuters.
The two industry groups that have seen the largest increases in people working from home are information, where it rose from 10.4% to 42%, and finance, insurance and real estate, from 10. .8% to 38.4%. Professional and administrative services also increased from 12.6% to 36.5%.
The smallest gains were recorded in agriculture and mining; entertainment and catering services; and the armed forces.
While each income level saw an increase in the number of people working from home, those in the highest income bracket were the most likely to work from home. While it doubled from 2019 to 2021 for workers in the lowest income bracket, it tripled for those in the highest income bracket, according to the report.
Working from home also varied by region. In 2021, it was more prevalent in the West and Northeast, making up about one-fifth of the workforce, compared to 16.2% in the South and 15.8% in the Midwest. The variation may have been caused by the availability of internet access, the cluster of information technology jobs on the coasts, and the way people travel, whether by car or public transport. , according to the report.
The tech-heavy metro areas of San Francisco and San Jose had more than a third of their workforce working from home in 2021 – the largest share among metros with more than one million residents.
Given that most pandemic restrictions have been lifted since the 2021 survey was conducted, it is unclear at this stage whether the growth in working from home is permanent.
“If only temporarily, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a massive shift in how people in the United States relate to their workplace,” the report said. “With the centrality of work and travel to American life, the widespread adoption of working from home has been a defining feature of the pandemic era.”