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U.S. Study: Can Freelancers Cope with the Cost of Living?

National  + Weekender  | 

Did you know that about 57 million people in America are freelancers? Since freelancers have to take into account business expenses such as potentially paying for office space, as well as paying for their rent, COMMERCIALCafe performed a study to find out where in the U.S. freelancers have it best.

By comparing average monthly housing expenses, as well as typical co-working costs across cities, the survey found the following:

Hourly Rate Needed Across Cities to Afford Housing and Private Office Expenses (rounded to nearest whole number)

  • Manhattan, New York: $99
  • San Francisco, CA: $87
  • Los Angeles, CA: $60
  • Seattle, WA: $52
  • Chicago, IL: $50
  • Austin, TX: $30
  • Detroit, MI: $20
  • Kansas City, MO: $18

Additional Findings

  • 37% of freelancers are based in the South, where those seeking affordable co-working office space are most likely to find it in Nashville, Charlotte, Plano, Houston and Atlanta (with an average hourly income of $38, freelancers in these cities can work less than 40-hours a week and still come out on top).
  • Nine out of the top 10 cities where freelancers need to increase their hourly rate to afford their costs are in California and New York.
  • Only the top 5% of freelancers who reported their incomes since 2014 earn the $150,000 or more necessary to afford the most expensive cities in terms of renting both office space and a place to live.

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