The Wall Street Journal recently looked at what attracts remote workers to certain cities and found Evansville to be among the most attractive places in the country.
The city was ranked third in the Journal’s “Top 10 Places for Remote Workers,” released Monday. While most of the article focused on first-place Springfield, Missouri, a chart highlighted the other nine locations, including three Indiana cities: Evansville (third), Lafayette (fifth), and Fort Wayne (tenth).
Here’s how The Wall Street Journal says it compiled the rankings:
“The Wall Street Journal created its ranking of the best places to work from home by first asking polling firm Ipsos to conduct a nationwide survey in August 2022, identifying the top 10 factors people said they care about. more in a remote work place. The Journal then weighed these factors to come up with our list of cities and towns that fit those priorities.”
So what was attractive about Evansville? Here is a breakdown:
Households with Internet access at 100 mpbs (and its cost)
Like all cities in the top 10, Evansville was listed as having 100% of its households able to access 100 Mbps internet. The number of places outside the city limits in Vanderburgh County with high internet availability also speed continues to grow, as AT&T continues to roll out its fiber lines.
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The monthly price for high-speed broadband here is $40, the Journal survey says. This landed Evansville in the middle of the top 10, with Springfield, Missouri being the cheapest ($32.80 a month) and Wichita, Kansas being the most expensive ($49.90).
Houses (size and price)
The survey found that the average Evansville home listing price was $183,093 for the period between January and November 2022, and that the average home size was 1,739 square feet. The median listing price was the second lowest in the top 10, with only Huntington, West Virginia reporting a lower figure ($148,177).
In terms of home size, Evansville was in the middle of the top 10.
Cost of living and unemployment rate
Evansville landed in the 71st percentile for “lowest cost of living,” placing it ninth in the top 10. Kansas City, Kansas ranked at the top in the cost of living category, and St. Louis was the lowest ranked in the top 10.
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Evansville’s unemployment rate (2.87%) was the fourth lowest.
Quality of life categories
These were a mixed bag for Evansville. The city did well in family-friendly restaurants (81st percentile) and so-so in family-friendly art venues (60th percentile), but struggled in categories measuring proximity to an airport (34th percentile) and families located within half a mile of a park (8.8%).
Only Fort Wayne (6.4 percent) fared worse in the parks category.
Reaction of local economic officials
Tyler Stock, executive director of TalentEVV — an Evansville regional economic partnership initiative that connects dozens of businesses, schools and nonprofits in the drive to attract and retain new workers to the city — said the Journal’s ranking was a welcome surprise, but it makes sense, given the data.
“It’s nice to have average (exposure) at that level,” Stock said. “We’ve had a team here over the past decade that’s been working on a lot of these things, especially through the broadband (accessibility) piece.”
The timing is also good, Stock said. In recent weeks, E-REP has joined the MakeMyMove campaign through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
“One of their main strategies is to attract remote workers to the state of Indiana. We already have 14 or 15 applications from applicants to relocate to our region,” he said.
And while E-REP is still pursuing traditional economic development (attracting large business and large-scale hiring prospects), there is something to be said for the granular approach that has accelerated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic .
“If you look at the data, 19 million Americans plan to pick up and relocate this year,” Stock said. “There is data that suggests incremental growth is the way forward.”