According to a new Census Bureau report, people who work from home were the highest earning workers in the “median earnings by means of transportation to work” category. Bloomberg highlighted this in a new report that also noted that in 2018, people who took public transportation to work had higher median earnings than those who didn’t.From the public transportation angle, the statistics are mostly a reflection of where buses, subways and commuter trains are located. Places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco accounted for a large portion of Americans who took public transportation to work, and pay is notably higher in those areas.
People who work from home gain their income advantage from the kind of work that can be done remotely. For instance, white-collar work is much more likely to be done from home than blue-collar work. Perhaps this is a reason why, in 2010, those who worked from home made 11% less than those who drove to work, but in 2018, they made 5% more.
Over the same period of time, the number of people who reported working at home has risen to 8.3 million from 5.9 million. The rise began in the early 2000’s, as broadband connections at home made it easier for people to accomplish work tasks while not in the office.
The annual American Community Survey from which the current data 1 are derived asks people how they usually got to work the previous week. This misses out on lots of people who didn’t happen to work from home that particular week but do sometimes. A 2016 Gallup survey found that 43% of American employees worked remotely at least occasionally. The European Union’s Eurostat tracks whether people work at home “usually” or “sometimes,” and over the past decade the former group hasn’t grown as a share of the EU workforce but the latter has.
But in general, the trend toward working at home seems to be a good one. Studies have shown that employees who are given the opportunity to work from home are more productive and happier with their jobs. They can also save time and money by not commuting.
And another portion of the study shows that people who work at home either make a significant sum of money, or not very much at all. This could be due to some people working at home just as part-timers looking to supplement household income. Others, who make $75,000 or more, are likely white-collar executives or work in technology. Remote work websites like Upwork are also becoming popular for people to take on full-time workloads from remote locations.
Finally, the study showed that working at home seems to still predominantly be the most popular with white people.