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CB12-188

Contact:  Melanie Deal
Public Information Office
301-763-3030

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  THURSDAY, OCT. 4, 2012

Census Bureau Report Shows Steady Increase in Home-Based Workers Since 1999

In 2010, 4.2 million more people worked at home than a decade before, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010 contains findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the American Community Survey. The combined analysis provides timely and comprehensive statistics on home-based workers in the United States.

According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the number of people who worked at home at least one day per week increased from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, increasing from 7.0 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers. The largest increase occurred between 2005 and 2010, when the share grew from 7.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers, an increase of more than 2 million.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation has provided timely information on home-based workers since the mid-1990s and differentiates by those who work exclusively from home (home workers), those who worked only outside of the home (onsite), and those who worked both from home and at a location outside of the home (mixed workers). The survey revealed that median household income was significantly higher for mixed workers at $96,300, compared with $74,000 for home workers and $65,600 for onsite workers.

According to the American Community Survey, 5.8 million or 4.3 percent of the U.S. workforce worked the majority of the week at home in 2010. This is an increase of about 1.6 million since 2000. Because of its sample size and timeliness, with data collected from about 3 million households annually, the American Community Survey provides both reliable subnational estimates and detailed information about the class of worker, industry and occupation of home-based workers.

Estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey indicate that the Boulder, Colo., metropolitan area had among the highest percent of workers who worked from home most of the week with 10.9 percent, followed by Medford, Ore., with 8.4, Santa Fe, N.M., with 8.3, Kingston, N.Y. with 8.1; and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif., with 7.9.

Detailed class of worker information from the American Community Survey suggested that although nearly half of home-based workers were self-employed, government workers saw the largest increase in home-based work over the last decade. Home-based workers increased by 133 percent among state government workers and 88 percent among federal government workers. There was a 67 percent increase in home-based work for employees of private companies.

“As communication and information technologies advance, we are seeing that workers are increasingly able to perform work at home,” said Peter Mateyka, an analyst in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch and one of the authors of the report. “These changes in work patterns have both economic and social implications. Researchers and policymakers, including those in the fields of technology, transportation, employment, planning and housing, will find this report helpful in future transportation and community planning as well as technological trends.”

Other highlights:

  • About one in 10 who worked exclusively from home were 65 and older in 2010.
  • About one-fourth of home-based workers were in management, business and financial occupations.
  • Home-based workers in computer, engineering and science occupations increased by 69 percent between 2000 and 2010.
  • Mondays and Fridays were the most popular days to work at home for those who work both at home and at another location.
  • Metro areas in the Southeast, Southwest and West had the largest percentage of workers who worked from home.

Additional Briefs about Commuting

Later this fall, the Census Bureau will release additional briefs and reports from the American Community Survey about workers, where they work and how long it takes to get there.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014