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The Best Small Towns for Working Remotely in the US in 2020

Posted in: I'm Moving, Money Saving, Neighborhood Advice

Key Findings:

  • The best town for working remotely in the US is Gatlinburg, TN
  • Three Delaware towns are in the top 10 most remote-friendly places in the country
  • Leland Grove, IL is the smallest town in the top 10, with 1,464 residents

As more and more people choose (or are forced) to work remotely, many are realizing they don’t necessarily have to live in the big cities where their employers tend to be based. If you can work and be productive remotely, why endure a concrete jungle with barely affordable rent, high cost of living, and a crowded commute? Working from home is in.

To help all the remote workers out there, HireAHelper created an algorithm that ranks a town’s internet accessibility, cost of living, and much more in order to figure out where the best places to work remotely in 2020 are.

Lo and behold, HireAHelper’s ranking of the top places for working remotely in the United States!

See the chart below to explore the rankings. Check how towns compare on the overall scores, plus compare the top 50 towns on individual factors.

The Top 10 Towns

The top of our table offers something for everyone. From mountainous Gatlinburg TN and Manitou Springs, CO, to the suburban Leland Grove, IL, and Collingwood, NJ. 

And of all the towns, Delaware somewhat surprisingly dominates. The Diamond State, with its affordable high-speed broadband, excellent local amenities, and plenty of open green spaces, has a total of three towns land in our top 10! 

Here is each town in our top 10, all perfect for your next Zoom meeting.

    = Financials (i.e., cost of living, local income, property and sales tax rates, housing prices) 
= Comforts (i.e., coffee shops, restaurants) 
= Broadband offerings (i.e., terms of coverage, speed, and cost, & free Wi-Fi hotspots) 
= Conditions (i.e., greenery, open-air, air quality)

1. Gatlinburg, TN  |

Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg, TN

Winning the #1 spot in the ranking, it’s Gatlinburg in Tennessee. On the doorstep to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this town is affordable, has a reliable 2 GB internet connection, and no shortage of places to grab a hot brew or a bite to eat. Not to mention, you have access to lots of green spaces inside one of the greatest national parks in the country.

2. New Castle, DE  |

Closely behind in second place is New Castle in Delaware. Set on the outskirts of Wilmington, New Castle offers a manageable cost of living, speedy broadband, and plenty of spots for food and coffee. It’s a town full of quaint charm, but one thing that put New Castle so high in our ranking is a relatively low house pricing compared to many other towns in Delaware, and beyond.

3. Lewes, DE  |

Another historic beach town in the state of Delaware, Lewes combines the charm of an East Coast beach town that offsets a lot of the East Coast cost of living with Delaware’s famously low taxes. Add a strong local food scene and some affordable high-speed internet, and you’ve got yourself one of the greatest towns for remote working.

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4. Collingswood, NJ  |

Despite being a proverbial stone’s throw away from Philadelphia, Collingswood in New Jersey town was able to preserve its small-town feel. Benefitting from a fair number of parks and coffee spots, here you also find some relatively affordable housing, along with the ubiquitous fast-speed broadband.

5. Leland Grove, IL  |

Leland Grove, IL

Leland Grove, IL

Another suburban entry on our top ten is Leland Grove, just outside Springfield in Illinois. Much like in other places at the top of our list, here the houses are affordable, coffee spots – plentiful, and broadband – cheap and fast.

6. Rehoboth Beach, DE  |  

A third Delaware town in our top ten, and similarly to its counterparts, Rehoboth Beach mixes colonial history with its beach town charm. Despite the relatively high cost of living and house prices, the taxes are “Delaware low”, and with excellent internet connectivity and no shortage of coffee shops, this 1,500-strong town is firmly in the sixth spot on our list.

7. Manitou Springs, CO  |

Manitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs, CO

Situated in the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, the town Manitou Springs in Colorado boasts unrivaled access to scenic parks, hiking trails, and some of the freshest air in the country. On top of that, it has plenty to offer in a way of food and coffee… not to mention the fast internet and low taxes. What’s not to like?

8. Southport, NC  |

Southport, NC

Southport, NC

Back on the East Coast, another attractive town beckons. This time, it’s Southport in North Carolina. Come for the attractive combination of good parks and glorious ocean views, stay for the burgeoning restaurant scene and affordable housing. 

9.  Nevada City, CA  |

The highest-ranking Californian town in our rating is Nevada City. This old Gold Rush town wins its spot by offering its residents excellent internet connection for a good price, a decent selection of food and coffee, and some incredible parks and hiking trails. 

10. Winter Park, FL  |

Hardly any ranking is complete without an entry from the Sunshine state, and the one on our list is Winter Park. Close to Orlando, it might not be the cheapest around, but it’s renowned for its vast green spaces and has excellent amenities in terms of coffee, Wi-Fi, and not to mention high-speed home internet. And it’s hard to beat that Florida sunshine.

What Are the Best Remote-Friendly Places in My State?

America’s best places for remote work might not be in your state, but don’t worry, we found that each state has a town or a small city suitable for working away from the office.

Check out our handy city-finder map down below. You can search through the highest-rated remote-friendly location in your part of the country. 

Affordable, Connected, Green: How We Ranked the Towns (and 382 More Great Places) work from home

To get started with the places we were going to choose from, we rounded up some of the most beautiful towns in America. (If you’re going to move somewhere to work remotely, it might as well be beautiful, right?). To do this, we relied on various articles, like this one from The Culture Trip, to find the most attractive places in each of the 50 states to work from home in.

Then, using the data from the US Census Bureau, we filtered anywhere with a population less than 1,000 and more than 50,000, leaving 392 towns on our final list.

To rank them all, we crunched the numbers on four different factors, then aggregated them.

To get a sense of what living in each town is like financially, we gathered the estimates of the cost of living, local income, property, and sales tax rates, as well as housing prices. 

A speedy and reliable Internet connection is critical to successful remote set-up, so we looked up each town’s broadband offering in terms of coverage, speed, and cost. Plus, we counted up the free Wi-Fi hotspots in the area. 

Living in a small town doesn’t have to mean missing out on good food and coffee, so we estimated the number of coffee shops, restaurants, and food delivery options for each town in our selections.

Finally, the big draw of living in a small town is fresh air and access to green spaces, which is why we looked at the number of parks and hiking spots around each town, took in data on air and water quality, and threw in an estimate of weather comfort to round off the rankings.

If you’re keen to explore the data in more detail, check out the full table below with all 392 towns we profiled.

Sources and Methodology
The sources of data used in the piece are as follows:
The overall score has a maximum of 100 points and is based on a selection of 16 factors, which were weighted as follows:
Financials
  • Cost of Living – 10 points, 
  • Local Tax Burden – 5 points 
  • House Price – 5 points
Work Amenities
  • Broadband Speed – 10 points 
  • Broadband Cost – 5 points 
  • Broadband Coverage – 5 points
  • Coworking Spaces per 1,000 residents – 5 points 
  • Free Wi-Fi Spots per 1,000 residents – 5 points
Comforts
  • Coffee Shops per 1,000 residents – 10 points
  • Restaurants per 1,000 residents  – 10 points 
  • Food Delivery Options  per 1,000 residents – 5 points 
  • Libraries per 1,000 residents – 5 points
Conditions: 
  • Parks per 1,000 residents – 10 points
  • Weather Comfort – 5 points
  • Air Quality – 3 points 
  • Water Quality – 2 points 
Image credits:
  1. Gatlinburg, TN, photo by Evan Nichols, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).
  2. Leland Grove, IL, photo by Jim Roberts, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).
  3. Manitou Springs, CO, photo by vanitea, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0).
  4. Southport, NC, photo by by Space Mule, license under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) 

    Illustrations by Chelsea Beck

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