SEPT. 15, 2022 – Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 5.7% (roughly 9 million people) to 17.9% (27.6 million people), according to new 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly half (48.3%) of workers in the District of Columbia worked from home, the highest percentage of home-based workers among states and state equivalents in 2021. In addition to the District of Columbia, states with the highest percentage of home-based workers were Washington (24.2%), Maryland (24.0%), Colorado (23.7%) and Massachusetts (23.7%). (These four states were not statistically different from each other.) 2021 marked the highest number and percentage of people working from home recorded since the ACS began in 2005.
“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, 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.”
With more people working from home and fewer commuting by private vehicle, the average one-way travel time to work dropped to 25.6 minutes in 2021, among the shortest times in the last decade. The average commute was two minutes shorter than the average of 27.6 minutes in 2019.
The ACS provides a wide range of important statistics about the nation’s people and housing, such as language spoken at home, education, commuting, employment, mortgage status and rent, income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. It is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40-plus topics it covers.
Below is a sample of available statistics.
Additional statistics on health insurance coverage can be found in the Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type by Geography: 2019 and 2021 report. There will also be an America Counts story, Uninsured Rate Declined in 28 States 2019-2021 exploring health insurance statistics from the ACS.
The ACS 1-year production data products were last released in 2019. If data users wish to make comparisons, they should compare the 2021 ACS 1-year estimates to the 2019 ACS 1-year estimates, not to the 2020 ACS 1-year experimental estimates released last year. For guidance on comparing 2021 ACS statistics with previous years and the 2020 Census, visit the Comparison Guidance page.
The Census Bureau is set to release additional ACS statistics over the next few months, including 2021 ACS 1-year supplemental estimates and 2017-2021 ACS 5-year estimates. For more information on the topics included in the ACS, ranging from educational attainment to computer use, visit the Subjects Included in the Survey page. To access the full set of statistics released today, visit data.census.gov.
These statistics would not be possible without participation from ACS respondents throughout the country.
Note: Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the highlights have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90% confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Consult the tables on data.census.gov for specific margins of error. For more information on using margins of error, visit the Code Lists, Definitions, and Accuracy page.
Changes in survey design from year-to-year can affect results. For more information on changes affecting the 2021 statistics, refer to our User Notes.