Working from home certainly has its perks – zero commuting, no distracting cubicle chitchat, and the ability to wear comfy sweatpants in lieu of office attire.

It seems like many more U.S. residents are primarily working from home these days, including those who reside in the Valley of the Sun.

New information published in the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of WFH-ers in Arizona equaled about 680,000 people last year, 20.7% of the state’s working population of 3.28 million people aged 16 years and up.

This marks an approximately 13% rise in the number of work-from-home employees from three years ago. In 2019, roughly 248,300 people in Arizona did their nine-to-five from the comfort of home, then 7.6% of the 3.27 million workers in the same age group.

Number of Americans working from home triples over three years

From 2019 to 2021, the number of people primarily working from home in the U.S. tripled according to the Census Bureau.

About four years ago, 5.7% of Americans worked from home, equal to about nine million people. In 2021, that cohort shot up to 27.6 million people, about 17.9% of the working population who is 16 years and older. Last year marked the highest number and percentage of people working from home recorded since the ACS began in 2005.

Amongst the states, the highest percentage of home-based workers in 2021 was found in the District of Columbia, where 48.3% of employees worked from their residence. This was followed by Washington (24.2%), Maryland (24.0%), Colorado (23.7%) and Massachusetts (23.7%).

Among the metros with a million residents or more, the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metros were reported to have had the highest percentage of home-based workers in 2021, equaling roughly 35% of the population.

In 2019, about 6% of workers living in metropolitan areas worked from home and 5% resided outside of metros. Three years later, these percentages have increased in both areas, with the number of those working from home in metro areas rising to roughly 19% and jumping to 9% outside of metros in 2021.

“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, a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch, in a press release.

“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,” he added.

Workers spent fewer minutes commuting in 2021

Without the need to travel to a brick-and-mortar workplace, Americans are saving time on their commute.

The 2021 ACS revealed that the average one-way travel time to work fell to 25.6 minutes in 2021, shaving off a couple of minutes from the average commuting time of 27.6 minutes in 2019. Last year marked the shortest commute times in the last decade.

In 2021, 68% of workers drove alone to work, down from 76% in 2019, about 15 million fewer people.

The number of workers who commute via public transport has depleted by half. In 2019, 5% of employees took transit to work, a group that shrunk to 2.5% in 2021, the lowest percentage of workers commuting by public transportation ever recorded by the ACS.

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