Freelancer Paradise Found — Report Identifies The Best and Worst U.S. States For Freelance Workers

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  • This population of independent workers has grown by nearly 10% since 2016, but not all states are as advantageous or supportive for these freelancer workers. 
  • Because freelancers and all independent workers are untethered by traditional offices most of the time, having access to the resources for this type of work is necessary. 
  • According to new research from accounting software financial technology firm Tipalti, there are several factors that can make regions more freelancer-friendly. 

According to McKinsey, 58 million Americans consider themselves independent workers, which is 36% of the workforce. 

In its American Opportunity Survey (AOS), independent workers are described as those with side hustles, gig workers and freelancers. 

This population of independent workers has grown by nearly 10% since 2016, but not all states are as advantageous or supportive for these freelancers. 

However, according to new research from accounting software financial technology firm Tipalti, there are several factors that can make regions more freelancer-friendly, including:

  • Number of coworking spaces 
  • Number of self-employed people 
  • Cost of living 
  • Broadband speeds 

Taking these elements, Tipalti was able to determine the best — and worst — states for freelancers. 

The Methodology 

Because freelancers and all independent workers are untethered by traditional offices most of the time, having access to the resources for this type of work is necessary. 

However, each factor may impact each job differently.  

For instance, if someone is a web designer for a company, they certainly will need fast internet and software to get their work done appropriately.  

On the other hand, if someone is in the freight and transportation industry, they may want to live in a state that has a lower cost of living since they are on the road so often.  

Best State For Freelancers  

The top ten U.S. states for freelancers were:  

  1. Texas 
  2. Tennessee 
  3. Georgia 
  4. Colorado 
  5. Washington 
  6. Florida 
  7. New York 
  8. Arizona 
  9. Massachusetts 
  10. Illinois 

Texas ranked as the number one state for freelancers, namely due to the region’s high-speed internet and the pure demand for these workers. Still, Texas comes in second in terms of freelancer demand behind California. 

Tennessee comes in second thanks to its low cost of living and high number of self-employed workers. 

Colorado was found to have the most coworking spaces, with 2.4 spaces per 100,000 people.  

Worst States For Freelancers  

According to Tipalti’s research, the worst states for freelancers included: 

  1. Delaware 
  2. Kentucky 
  3. Montana 
  4. South Dakota 
  5. Alaska 
  6. North Dakota 
  7. Wisconsin 
  8. Mississippi 
  9. Hawaii 
  10. Idaho 

Because of Delaware’s high cost of living and limited number of coworking spaces, it was ranked as the worst state for freelancers to live in. However, the state also ranked number 2 in broadband speeds.  

Montana, while plagued with a high cost of living, few coworking centers and sluggish broadband, ranked number one in the number of self-employed workers thanks to its strong agricultural community. 

Overall, the five lowest-ranked states saw less than 1 coworking space per 100,000 people, greatly impacting their ranking. 

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