An In-Depth Breakdown of the Remote Worker Next Door: Generation, Income, Education & More

There’s no doubt that the rise of remote work and flexible employment models have transformed conventional beliefs about work environments and patterns in both the United States and the rest of the world. Thanks to technological breakthroughs and a changing societal perspective on work/life balance, remote work has become increasingly popular as it gives employees a newfound freedom and flexibility over how and where they work.

In fact, the remote work model has quickly become widely popular among employees and employers alike — so much so that nearly one-third of professionals recently reported wanting to work from home five days a week. That’s because this groundbreaking shift has made it easier for people to pursue fulfilling jobs from almost anywhere as they’re no longer bound by geographical borders. At the same time, the remote work model is giving employers access to a global talent pool, making it easier than ever to find and engage the best employees.

As we explore the nuances of this emerging trend, it becomes clear that remote work is a fundamental rethinking of employment, rather than just a short-lived reaction to global events. With this in mind, we set out to determine exactly who today’s remote worker next door is. To that end, we analyzed relevant characteristics — like demographics, income, education and work habits — to create a well-rounded profile of the modern remote worker.

The Rise (and Shine) of the Remote Worker

While 2020 was the year that saw the most drastic surge in remote work across the nation (as well as globally), a significant share of the total U.S. workforce was working remotely at the end of 2022, as well. More precisely, more than 15% of all workers aged 16 and older were working either fully remotely or in a hybrid manner — a share that translated to more than 24 million Americans.

It’s important to note here that 2023 and the current year are decisive in terms of the evolution of remote work, considering that many companies are mandating a return-to-office policy or replacing their fully remote approaches with hybrid options. That said, the profile of the remote worker is based on a larger sample pool, as seen in 2022 through the most recent Census data. Moreover, even if the share of remote workers decreases in the following years, the characteristics of the typical remote worker are unlikely to change significantly.

Geographical Distribution, Gender Balance & Generational Diversity: The Core Demographics of U.S. Remote Workers

The geographic distribution of remote workers in the U.S. registers slight variations with different proportions in each area. For instance, the West has the largest concentration of remote workers, accounting for more than 17% of the total workforce — which is perhaps unsurprising given its high concentration of tech giants operating in the region. In second place with almost 16% of workers being telecommuters was the Northeast region. Not to be outdone, the South also shows a notable presence of remote workers — close to 15% of the workforce — while the Midwest has a slightly lower, but still large number of remote workers (13%).

As far as gender goes, the remote worker distribution in the United States is almost perfectly balanced with a slight tendency toward females: More than 51.4% of the total number of teleworkers are female, while the remaining 48.6% are male.

At the same time, the demographics registered among American remote workers show a wide spectrum of generations that support flexible work schedules. Representing almost 39% of the total remote workforce, Millennials make up the largest group of teleworkers. Otherwise, those belonging to Generation X come in second by making up a sizable share of the remote workforce at 34%, while Baby Boomers also comprise 18% of the total number of U.S. remote workers.

Lastly, the younger generation of professionals, known as Gen Z, makes up a mere 8% of the remote labor force. However, this distribution highlights the importance and accessibility of remote work for employees of all generations in today’s labor market, as well as its appeal to workers of various age groups.

Education Elevated: The Academic Landscape of America’s Remote Workforce

Americans who work remotely demonstrate a very high degree of educational achievement. In fact, three out of five remote workers (61%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while another sizable portion (24%) have an associate’s degree or have completed some college. This indicates a robust presence of highly educated professionals in remote work positions, suggesting that remote workers are inclined to pursue further education.

Meanwhile, a mere 3% of teleworkers lack a high school diploma, whereas 12% of them have received an equivalent education. This data emphasizes the relationship between the accessibility to remote work and higher education, as well as the fact that remote employment is made available to people with a variety of educational backgrounds.

Remote Work & Higher Earnings — The Income Diversity of Telecommuters

While the yearly median income reported among all U.S. teleworkers stands at $70,000, the majority of remote workers (46%) earn $75,000 or more annually. This goes to show that a significant percentage of remote workers fit into higher-income brackets — a factor that can potentially be linked to their higher degree of education. Furthermore, 12% and 11% earn between $50,000 and $64,999 or $35,000 and $49,999, respectively, which shows a sizable proportion of remote workers in the middle-class salary ranges.

And, although lesser percentages of remote workers are in lower income categories — such as those making less than $10,000 (7%) or between $10,000 and $14,999 (4%) — these numbers are also likely to represent those who are pursuing part-time or freelance remote work opportunities. Overall, the data illustrates the potential for remote work to provide competitive earning opportunities across a wide spectrum of income levels, generally above the median American wage.

Remote Work Revolution: Industries Embracing Versatility in America’s Workforce

Notably, a large range of industries utilize remote work, thereby demonstrating the model’s adaptability and versatility to different professional areas. With 27% of the country’s total remote workforce, the professional, scientific, managerial and administrative services industry employs the greatest number of remote workers. Next, the sectors providing social services, health care and education come in close second, employing 16.2% of the remote workforce.

In addition, the real estate, insurance, finance, and rental and leasing industries also make substantial contributions, accounting for 14.6% of remote workers. There’s also a noticeable presence of remote work in other areas, including manufacturing (7.7%), retail trade (6.8%) and information (4.6%). And, while the percentage of remote workers is lower in “hands-on,” manual industries — like construction, forestry, mining, agriculture and transportation — telework is nevertheless present in a wide array of professional areas.

Meet the Remote Worker Next Door

Based on the diverse characteristics that we have broken down in the sections above, we can begin to paint a cohesive portrait of the U.S. remote worker in today’s modern work landscape. Specifically, the most typical remote worker is likely a Millennial with a high level of education, such as a bachelor’s degree or higher, earning a yearly wage of more than $75,000 and holding a job in a white-collar career in a professional, scientific or management role.

However, members of Generation X and Baby Boomers are also inclined to work remotely, and an associate’s degree or equivalent is also likely to guarantee access to jobs that are seamlessly done from home.

Overall, the modern remote worker can have many faces and wear many hats, which reinforces the appeal and adaptability of the remote work model across different generations, education levels, incomes and industries.


For the purpose of this article, we used data from the following public sources:

U.S. Census Bureau:

IPUMS USA: Steven Ruggles, Sarah Flood, Matthew Sobek, Daniel Backman, Annie Chen, Grace Cooper, Stephanie Richards, Renae Rogers, and Megan Schouweiler. IPUMS USA: Version 14.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2023.

  • Generational breakdown of remote workers
  • Distribution of remote workers by education level
  • Yearly median income attributed to remote workers in 2022

*U.S. Census Bureau is the source of the underlying data.

Laura Pop-Badiu

Laura Pop-Badiu is a Senior Creative Writer at CoworkingCafe and CoworkingMag, with a degree in Journalism and a background in both hospitality and real estate. Laura is a certified bookworm with a genuine passion for the written word and a keen interest in the coworking sector. Her work has been featured in major publications like Forbes, NBC News, The Business Journals, Chicago Tribune, MSN and Yahoo! Finance, among others.
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