Sep 19, 2022 - News

More Houstonians working from home, U.S. Census shows

Change in share of people working from home, 2019–2021
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

New U.S. Census Bureau data shows the number of Texans working remotely has increased since 2019, another sign of how the pandemic changed the future of work.

By the numbers: Remote workers in Texas jumped by 10.6 percentage points in three years.

  • More than 16% of Texans worked remotely in 2021, up from nearly 6% in 2019.
  • Across the country, 17.9% of Americans worked primarily from home in 2021 compared with 5.7% in 2019, per the survey results.

Zoom in: Among Houston workers ages 16 and older, 15.6% worked from home in 2021, a large jump from previous years, per the Census data.

  • Yes, but: We're nowhere near the top remote U.S. cities. Washington, D.C. had close to 50% of people working primarily from home, while Austin had about 40%.
Data: American Community Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: American Community Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: The newly released survey results provide one of the most reliable indications yet of the pandemic's impact on Americans' work-from-home habits, writes Axios' Erin Doherty.

Between the lines: The Census Bureau said last year that it would not use its one-year estimates from 2020 "because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection."

What they're saying: "Work and commuting are central to American life, so the widespread adoption of working from home is a defining feature of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Michael Burrows, a statistician in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch.

  • "With the number of people who primarily work from home tripling over just a two-year period, the pandemic has very strongly impacted the commuting landscape in the United States."

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