‘Digital Nomads’ Highlighted in Report

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The “digital nomadic lifestyle” is likely to trend upward, according to a new report from Zillow and Yelp. The findings rank the top U.S. destinations best suited for travelers.

The report found nearly 11 million American workers currently describe themselves as “digital nomads” – those able to move from location to location, yet stay connected to work and loved ones digitally. The trend typically includes people seeking new experiences for one to six months, exploring various areas and potentially making a permanent move over time.

Zillow and Yelp analyzed each company’s datasets to create a “Digital Nomad Index,” which ranks the top U.S. metropolitan areas favorable to the lifestyle. Each metro earned an index score based on how well it performed across various criteria, the companies stated.

In the top spot, digital nomads likely will favor Jacksonville, Florida. Following close behind is Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Charleston, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee.

“These destinations boast a mix of outdoor adventure and city perks that are appealing to the many young professionals who have transitioned to the nomadic lifestyle due to their new-found ability to work from anywhere,” Yelp Trend Expert Tara Lewis said. “They are great for digital nomads, and offer a variety of highly rated local businesses and activities these folks are looking for, like shared office spaces, furniture rental, hiking, RV repairs, paddle boarding and more.”

The ranked metros were scored using Yelp data, which measures consumer demand and the share of business categories such as RV and auto repairs, outdoors activities, nightlife and furniture assembly, in addition to Zillow rental listings’ availability and affordability.

“Yelp identified the places that were strongest in business categories associated with large relative growth during the pandemic, and Zillow pageview data was incorporated to suggest demand for a particular metro,” the report stated.

The companies referred to a “Great Reshuffling” trend – potential remote work arrangements becoming more prominent.

“It is clear that this past year has caused many to reconsider their housing needs and wants, and sometimes that means not wanting to be tied to one spot for too long,” Zillow Economic Data Analyst Nicole Bachaud said. “Amenity-rich places with a lot of affordable rental units with shorter leasing terms are appealing to many people who no longer have to punch in at the office. More than 1-in-10 Americans have already moved in the past year, but we think the ‘Great Reshuffling’ is just getting started.”

A recent Zillow survey found more than 11% of Americans say that moved in the past year.

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