Who Is the Typical Remote Worker in America’s Western Region? Insights into Demographics, Income, Education & More

As remote work continues to gain momentum, understanding the demographics and characteristics of remote workers becomes increasingly crucial for businesses and individuals alike. That’s because delving into the profile of remote workers provides valuable insights into their diverse backgrounds, thereby allowing for tailored strategies to support their success and well-being in the evolving work landscape.

Previously, we painted the national profile of the typical remote worker with insights into demographics, income, education, predominant industries and more. However, because location also plays an important role in the remote work equation, we are now delving even deeper into the characteristics that define today’s modern remote workers in different areas of the country.

So, in this article, we’re looking at what sets the remote workforce apart in the Western U.S., while also exploring the comprehensive profile of the remote worker next door in the region’s top metros. Make sure to check the local breakdown by using our interactive visual.

Geographical Distribution, Gender Balance & Generational Diversity in the West: San Francisco Leads With Highest Percentage of Remote Workers

Notably, the West boasts the highest concentration of remote workers, representing more than 17% of the total workforce. This is likely influenced by the prevalence of large, business-oriented coastal metros and giant tech companies in the region.

Use the hover to go over and click on each of the top Western metros or select your metro of choice from the drop-down menu below to see the specific insights into the local profile of the remote worker.

Percentage Distribution of Remote Workers

Although, from a regional standpoint, the 17% share of remote workers out of the total number of workers is the norm in the West, some metro areas go well above that. For instance, in San Francisco and Seattle, the share of remote workers reaches 27% and 25%, respectively. Conversely, in two California metros — Bakersfield and Modesto — telecommuters account for only 7%, which just goes to show that, even within the same state, the remote workforce can be unevenly distributed.

Gender Distribution of Remote Workers

Compared to the other regions, the West has the most balanced distribution in terms of gender with 50.3% of remote workers being female and 49.7% male. That said, slight variations do exist on a local level. For example, in Albuquerque, NM, 60% of the remote workers are female, while the same percentage applies to the male remote workforce in Provo, UT.

Generational Distribution of Remote Workers

In the West, Millennials comprise the largest share of remote workers at 40%, which is slightly higher than in other regions. However, Millennials make up almost half of the population of remote workers (more than 45%) in three main metros: Denver has 47%, while Salt Lake City and Seattle both have shares of 46%. Conversely, the lowest percentages representing this generation are found in Spokane, WA, and Tucson, AZ, which have the second- and third-highest shares of Boomer remote workers at around one-fifth of the total remote commuters. In both of these metros, the largest portion of remote workers is made up of Gen X representatives with almost 38% of the total remote workforce.

Accordingly, Gen X follows closely behind, representing 33% of remote workers in the West. Notably, the West was surpassed in this demographic by the South and the Midwest, both standing at 35% in terms of Gen X telecommuters. To that end, the West has a lower representation of Gen Z remote workers compared to other regions with 8% of remote workers belonging to this generation. For comparison, the Northeast leads in this metric with almost 9% of its remote workforce being Gen Z. Boomers also contribute to the remote workforce in the West, accounting for almost 18% of the total remote workers (which is still the lowest share among the regions we analyzed).

Education Level of America’s Western Remote Workforce: Most Highly Educated Teleworkers in San Jose

Similar to all of the other regions, the majority of remote workers in the West are highly educated with 62% holding a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, the second-most common group of remote workers (24%) has some college or an associate’s degree, while 11% of the Western remote workforce is comprised of high school graduates. Interestingly, the West is the top region with the highest percentage of teleworkers with less than a high school degree at almost 4% of the total remote workforce.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, San Jose and San Francisco — both known for their booming tech industries and wide adoption of the remote and hybrid work models — boast the largest shares of highly educated teleworkers with 82% and 80%, respectively, having at least a BA degree. Seattle is third in this category with a share of 72% of remote workers with this level of education. Conversely, three other California markets — Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto — logged the lowest shares of BA graduates at less than 40%. Not only that, but Bakersfield is the top Western metro to register the highest portion of remote workers with less than a high school degree at almost 18% of the total remote workforce. On the other hand, Modesto and Fresno lead in terms of remote workers who are high school graduates at 20% each.

Remote Work & Higher Earnings: In 3 Western Metros, Remote Workers Make More Than $100,000/Year

Almost half (49%) of the remote workers in the West are registering high incomes — more precisely, a yearly income of more than $75,000. Here, more than 11% of teleworkers in the Western region make between $50,000 to $64,999 per year, while 10% land in the $35,000 to $49,999 range. At the other end of the income spectrum, less than 7% of remote workers make less than $10,000 in the West, which is on par with the Northeast. It’s worth noting here that these lower wages could potentially be influenced by part-time workers.

Within the region, the same three metros that claim the highest shares of highly educated remote workers are the same ones that enable the highest earnings. Specifically, teleworkers in San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle all make yearly median incomes of more than $100,000 with San Jose going above the $130,000 mark. On the opposite pole, California’s Fresno is the only Western market where remote workers make less than $50,000 per year (more precisely, $45,000) — a factor that can be tied to the lower education level among remote workers in the area.

Remote Work Revolution, From Office Jobs to Manufacturing: Industries Embracing Versatility in Western America’s Workforce

In terms of specific industries, there are various sectors that enable remote work. That said, the highest percentages of teleworkers can be seen (perhaps as expected) in office-based industries, like professional and business services. As such, in metros like San Jose or San Francisco, remote workers account for 39% and 37%, respectively, of professionals in professional and business fields.

Remote workers are also widely present in the educational and health industries: 24% of the total remote workforce in this field in Bakersfield and Fresno in California, as well as 21% in Albuquerque, NM, operate in these industries.

In Arizona, 22% of the total remote workforce in Phoenix operates in the financial industry, as well as 17% in Reno, NV — the highest percentages registered in this sector in the Western region. At the same time, 16% of remote workers in Sacramento, CA, work in public administration services, as do 12% in Fresno.

Even the more “hands-on” types of industries support remote workers, which shows its wide adoption and popularity. In fact, almost 15% of the remote workers in San Jose work in manufacturing, while 8% of remote workers in Ogden, UT, work in construction jobs. Lastly, in Modesto, CA, 8% of the total number of remote workers operate in the agricultural field.


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. https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V14.0

  • Generational breakdown of remote workers (the generations were defined based on Pew Research Center classification)
  • Distribution of remote workers by education level
  • Yearly median income attributed to remote workers in 2022
  • The MSAs were defined by 2023 OMB delineations

*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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