The Broadband Report
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The Top 10 Best Cities to Work From Home

In 2010, 9.3 million people worked from home full time, a 34.6% increase in the past decade.[1]

To many this trend doesn’t come as a surprise as more entrepreneurs and companies are adopting work from home policies to reduce costs, while increasing worker enjoyment and productivity.

In fact, a study just released from Stanford found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive.[2]

Interested in this trend, our team at BroadbandNow began to wonder:

“If you can live and work anywhere, which city has the best broadband access, lowest cost of living, and overall quality of life.”

Below are the top 10 results:

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Chattanooga, TN-GA

Image Source: NNSCommunities

#1 – Chattanooga, TN

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

With over 66% of Chattanooga’s 540,000+ residents having access to 1gbps internet speeds, it’s no wonder EPB has been making headlines as a great example of what municipal broadband can do for a local economy.

Combine this blazing fast internet with a good wellness index and below average cost of living and it’s no surprise that Chattanooga is our top pick for freelancers, online entrepreneurs, and remote workers looking to maximize their spending power while still enjoying all the conveniences of a mid-sized city. Plus most people pay no state income tax in TN.

Kansas City, KS-MO

Image Source: Familypedia

#2 – Kansas City, KS-MO

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

Thanks to the recent deployment of Google Fiber, Kansas City comes in at #2 on our list. Sporting average broadband speeds 133% faster than other American cities, a great cost of living, and a solid wellness index, Kansas City is a great choice for people who can live and work anywhere.

Also we should mention that AT&T U-verse does offer fiber service… it’s just not widely available.

Tampa, FL

Image Source: Group Health Florida

#3 – Tampa, FL

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

Tampa, FL comes in at number 3 on our list. Thanks to a solid fiber infrastructure deployed by Verizon FiOS, 91% of Tampa’s residents have access to a fiber optic connection. This paired with warm weather and no state income tax makes Tampa a great place for people who can call anywhere home.

Virginia Beach, / VA

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

#4 – Virginia Beach, VA

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

With 63% of residents having access to Verizon FiOS‘ fiber-to-the-home, Virginia Beach, VA comes in at number 4 on our list. With great fiber coverage, average cost of living, and a solid wellness index Virginia Beach can be a great place to call home if Florida’s year round heat isn’t your thing.

#5 – Sioux Falls, SD

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

With a low cost of living and one of the highest wellness index on our list, Sioux Falls, SD comes in number 5 on our list. If you’re looking for a small town vibe with midwestern charm then look no further than Sioux Falls. Thanks to MidContinent Communications, 85% of residents have access to fiber optic internet.

High Point, NC

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

#6 – High Point, NC

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

High Point, NC comes in at number 6 on our list. Thanks to a combination of excellent internet access provided by North State Fiber, a low cost of living, and a great wellness index.

Orem, UT

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

#7 – Orem, UT

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

About 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, the cozy town of Orem, UT comes in at number 7 on our list. Thanks to it’s small town charm, high wellness score and low cost of living, we think Orem looks like a great place to check out.

As far as broadband Orem has widespread access to ultra fast 1gbps broadband internet through UTOPIA resellers.

Cedar Falls, IA

Image Source: Wikipedia

#8 – Cedar Falls, IA

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

In at number 8 is Cedar Falls, IA. With astounding 100% fiber coverage, this small town of just under 40,000 residents has a low cost of living and a high wellness index.

Note: Uses Cedar Rapids wellness score

Mason, OH

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

#9 – Mason, OH

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

Number 9 on our list is Mason, Ohio. Just about 22 miles from downtown Cincinnati, Mason sports high fiber coverage, an affordable cost of living and a solid wellness index. Fiber speeds up to 1gbps are offered through Cincinnati Bell.

Note: Uses Cincinnati’s wellness score

Greenfield, IN

Image Source: Wikipedia

#10 – Greenfield, IN

Fiber Coverage[3]
Cost of Living[4]

Number 10 on our list is the small town of Greenfield, IN. With a population just over 21,000 this small town has 100% fiber coverage thanks to NineStar connect.

Note: Uses Indianapolis, IN’s wellbeing score.

How This List Was Built:

We started by compiling a list of all of the major and minor cities in the US. From there we collected fiber optic penetration,[3] cost of living,[4] and then included the Gallup-Healthways Well Being index to the mix.[5]

Once we built the initial dataset, we eliminated all cities with a cost of living index above 100, all cities with a well-being score under 60, and all the cities with less than 60% fiber coverage.

From there we gave cities with a larger population covered by fiber a slightly higher ranking overall because a city like Chattanooga, TN with about 360,000 people having access to fiber is more likely to have a good freelancing community than a city like Greenfield, IN that has about 21,000.

6 Comments, Add Yours Below.

Not to quibble, but the footnote for Cedar Falls notes a Well-Being Index for Cedar Rapids. Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids are two distinct towns, 60+ miles apart. Gallup Well-Being numbers are available for Cedar Falls. As one of the original four Blue Zone Communities, and currently a certified Blue Zone Community, we have been specifically sampled by Gallup Well-Being for the last two years. I believe our latest score was 73 or 72.x.

I have lived in Cedar Falls since the seventies and we wanted 100% fiber coverage that was not offered by private enterprise so we had our city owned utility company build and run the service. Very inexpensive for the consumer!

So a high score on fiber optic penetration and the Well Being index is good, understandably, and a lower score on cost of living is most desirable. I get that, so if you add column A and C, and then subtract column B, you come up with the city scoring the highest – Cedar Falls Iowa – with a net score of 80, vs. the city that got the lowest score (38) being the city you ranked number #1, Chattanooga, TN. This makes no sense.

I understand the giving extra weight to larger cities, but of the three categories you used to determine your rank, isn’t Fiber Coverage the most important factor in working from home? And yet you’ve listed the two cities where 100% of the citizens have fiber coverage as 8th and 10th on your list, and the two cities with the lowest access as 1st and 4th.

Nothing about this ranking makes sense. You have a city where one-third of the residents don’t have access to fiber coverage, and yet that’s the best city to work from home? And even when you factor in large cities vs. small, you rank #1 Chattanooga ahead of Kansas City – despite the fact that KC has three times the population, has a higher fiber content and well being score and a lower cost of living.

There is no legitimate formula using the ten cities you have chosen (at random, apparently) that justifies this ranking., None whatsoever.

Bob — Thanks for the comment.

While fiber is important for working from home, if you can live and work anywhere you’ll definitely be looking at just more than fiber penetration.

Each element was weighted roughly equally, but as noted in the article the formula used weighted the larger cities higher because the cost to roll out fiber to a larger population is significant.

That said, on the MSA level Chattanooga is larger than Kansas City… and has over 50k more people who have access to a FTTH connection.

Nick,
It seems that Marabeth has pointed out to you that we are a separate city . Cedar Falls is a Certified Blue Zones city as I was on the original Blue zones planning committee and we do have a wellness index score. It was higher than what you posted. We are part of the Gallup score so that information is available. We were given that score two years ago so not exactly sure what it is to date. We appreciate you promoting and giving attention to our city.

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