Top 10 U.S. cities for freelancers in 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extra alternatives for far off, self-directed and freelance paintings than ever. As of late, round 10 million American citizens say they are running for themselves in some capability.

The chance to paintings from any place is certainly attractive to many, and it begs an enchanting query: If it’s good to paintings from any place, the place wouldn’t it be?

That can assist you resolution that query, we put in combination a listing of the ten highest towns for freelancers in 2022. Our underlying research, which used contemporary metro-area knowledge from the U.S. Census Bureau and state-level knowledge from the Federation of State Tax Directors, reveals indicators of slightly inexpensive hire; those metro spaces additionally appear to have colourful and rising freelancer cultures, in addition to rising call for for items and products and services. Here is the checklist.

Most sensible 10 metro spaces for freelancers

1. Greenville-Anderson, S.C.
2. Boise Town, Idaho
3. Columbus, Ohio
4. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
5. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
6. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
7. Worcester, Mass.-Conn.
8. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.
9. Winston-Salem, N.C.
10. Knoxville, Tenn.

Key findings

  • Most of the best 10 towns for freelancers had slightly low housing prices. Consistent with the Census Bureau knowledge, 51.6% of U.S. renters paid hire that was once lower than the really helpful threshold of 30% of gross per month source of revenue. And a few metro spaces have been smartly over that moderate, that means they’d upper proportions of other folks with slightly possible hire bills. Hire could make or damage some freelancers. “Your primary technique must be to stay your overhead prices as little as conceivable when you find yourself beginning out,” stated Lori Martinek, a Los Angeles-based qualified mentor for SCORE, which is a countrywide nonprofit that gives unfastened sources to industry house owners.
  • In best towns for freelancers, unemployment was once continuously slightly low and jobs have been being added. A just right activity marketplace and influx of staff can sign rising call for for items and products and services from freelancers. The highest 10 metro spaces tended to be excessive performers in those spaces, and all noticed internet will increase within the selection of other folks employed there in 2020.
  • The scale of the self-employed neighborhood is notable in lots of the best metro spaces. Nationally, 5.8% of staff have been self-employed in a nonincorporated industry , in step with 2019 knowledge from the U.S. Census Bureau. A number of of the metro spaces on our checklist exceeded this proportion, suggesting they’d wealthy, lively environments for gig staff, unbiased contractors and freelancers.
  • Minimal state tax charges are slightly low in lots of the best towns. Although deductions, credit, submitting standing choices and tax regulations make it onerous to are expecting what any freelancer’s tax burden will probably be, minimal state source of revenue tax charges can trace at whether or not freelancer tax expenses might be upper or decrease in sure places.

Deciding whether or not and the place to transport

Transferring is not simple or affordable, so deciding when to take your freelancing lifestyles to any other the town may also be tough. Industry mavens say to stay 3 issues in thoughts when considering a transfer.


The larger the town, the extra it prices to reside, stated Jonathan Medows, an authorized public accountant at Medows CPA in New York Town. State source of revenue tax brackets and charges range, and in some puts there are even new or further taxes to believe. Medows’ homeland of New York Town, for instance, has a city-level source of revenue tax, along with state and federal taxes; freelancers shifting there could have to believe elevating their charges to make amends for the extra tax expense.

App pairs gig staff with employers



Medows recommends a preview shuttle. “Dip your ft. Opt for a few weeks. Paintings there. See if it is one thing that is viable. Transferring’s dear, and I’d do like a pilot shuttle,” he stated. That can even come up with a possibility to assemble the tax and licensing knowledge you want.

“So primary, get a lay of the land; perceive the county, state and native taxes. Quantity two, perceive if you want any industry licenses,” he stated. “Quantity 3, see in case your just right or carrier that you are providing is topic to gross sales tax and sign up for gross sales tax.” Zoning regulations must be any other attention, Medows provides.

As soon as you could have moved, pass into the native financial institution and arrange your account in individual, Martinek stated. “Cross meet the folks on the financial institution, inform them what you might be looking to do. And they’re going to put you in contact with different organizations and different small companies. It occurs time and time once more,” she notes. “They need to can help you as a result of they need to see what you are promoting develop.”


“Some of the highest issues about being a freelancer or an unbiased contractor is that you just actually can reside and paintings any place that has a high-speed web connection, locally or across the world,” Martinek stated.

Location cannot clear up the entirety, even though. “The issues that location cannot repair come with, for example, a loss of a marketing strategy or having a treasured ability or carrier to provide,” Martinek stated. Additionally, sure kinds of paintings might handiest be to be had in particular spaces — freelance camera-work alternatives in spaces with a large number of TV and movie units, for instance. “You’ll be able to be within the busiest metropolis on the planet, but when you’ll be able to’t get any industry for what you might be doing, then you might be within the flawed position,” stated Medows.

To collect its checklist, NerdWallet checked out knowledge for primary U.S. metropolitan spaces from the USA Census Bureau. We additionally pulled state tax charges from the Federation of State Tax Directors. We weighted the have an effect on of every issue relying on how vital we felt that issue could be within the possible monetary good fortune of a freelancer. We excluded metro spaces for which there was once detrimental or no Process-to-Process Flows Census knowledge.

This newsletter was once supplied to The Related Press via the non-public finance website online NerdWallet. Tina Orem is a author at NerdWallet.

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