The Bulletin

The best U.S. cities to be a freelancer

Posting in Cities

Much has been made in recent years of the rise of the freelancer and the shift towards independent work - there are 10 million self-employed workers in the United States, according to estimates from Economic Modeling Specialists (ESMI). Indeed, a recent study found nearly one million more independent workers in the U.S. in 2012 compared to 2011, and 86 percent of freelancers said they were satisfied or highly satisfied with their work situation.

But what is the geography of self-employment? By crunching the numbers for independent workers in the country's 50 largest metro areas, the folks at EMSI found that the 10 areas with the largest share of self-employed workers were: Riverside, CA (11.6 percent), Los Angeles (10.1 percent), Miami (9.3 percent), San Francisco (9 percent), Sacramento (8.4 percent), Portland (8.3 percent), San Diego (8.1 percent), Houston (7.8 percent), Nashville (7.7 percent), and Memphis (7.6 percent).

Digging deeper, however, EMSI charted hourly wages for self-employed workers in the top 50 metro areas, and the results were somewhat different. In the top five were San Jose, CA ($30.75), followed by Washington, D.C. ($28.42), San Francsico ($26.68), Boston ($25.03), and New York City ($24.74).

The breakdown of wages among the 'creative class' of scientists, knowledge workers, and media and entertainment professionals, changed the story even further. The 10 metro areas with the highest wages for creative class independent workers were: San Jose ($26.42), Washington, D.C. ($25.55), Boston ($25.39), Philadelphia ($25.21), New York ($25.10), San Francisco ($25.02), Houston ($24.64), Bigmingham, Alabama ($24.21), Austin ($24), and Los Angeles ($23.50).

The number of full-time independent workers is expected to reach 30 million in the next decade, according to Richard Florida. Moreover, of those who became independent in 2012, 57 percent chose to, and only 13 percent of them say they want to return to traditional employment. Freelancing may soon be a very mainstream employment option.

Maps by Zara Matheson

via [The Atlantic Cities]

— By on February 25, 2013, 9:02 PM PST

Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure