Sep 16, 2022 - News

Census data confirms San Francisco's WFH shift

U.S. cities with greatest share of people working primarily from home in 2021
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Nearly 46% of people in San Francisco primarily worked from home in 2021 — up from 7% in 2019, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

By the numbers: San Francisco had the third-highest percentage of residents working from home among major U.S. cities.

  • Washington, D.C., topped the list with over 48% of workers mostly clocking in from home in 2021.
  • Seattle came in second at almost 47%.

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, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.

  • Of note: In 2020, the Census Bureau didn't release its standard, one-year estimates "because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection."

Zoom out: Nationally, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 5.7% in 2019 to 17.9% in 2021.

  • States with the highest WFH percentage were Washington, Maryland and Colorado, all around 24%.
  • California saw 21.4% of its workforce stay home in 2021, a 15.1% increase from pre-pandemic figures.

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," Michael Burrows, a statistician in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch, said in a statement.

Be smart: Compared to California's other large cities, San Francisco had by far the highest percentage of workers staying home (46%).

  • Oakland was the second-highest in the state at 33%, followed by San Jose at 30%.
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