A new study says Evanston is one of the top 25 cities in the nation for people seeking to work from home.

The website SmartAsset compared population characteristics, cost of living and internet and electricity reliability of 300 communities to come up with its list.

A total of nine Illinois communities made the top 100 in the “Zoom town” list. Evanston had the highest proportion of people working from home at least part of the week among any of those cities. But a relatively high share of workers’ incomes that had to be devoted to housing costs hurt our ranking.

The figures also indicate that while only 10.7% of Evanston workers were working from home in 2019 before the pandemic, that had grown to 33.4% two years later.

National rankCityWorking from homeTwo-year percentage point increase in remote workersHousing cost % of income
3Arlington Heights28.9%23.6%17.7%
Illinois cities in the top 100 of the ‘Zoom town’ list

The study ostensibly provides a guide to people who can work remotely who might want to relocate to a community with a lower cost of living. But it doesn’t account for how the income of the person relocating might compare with that of the people who already live there.

The study’s electric reliability measure was based on statewide data from the Energy Information Administration for 2021.

That gave a boost to all Illinois communities in the list, since, at 62.8 minutes per year of reportage outages, Illinois was bested only by the 59.5 outage minutes in Arizona and was vastly superior to the roughly three hours of outages in Arkansas, Michigan and Texas.

Most of the rest of the data used came from the Census Bureau’s American Community Surveys for 2019 and 2021.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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