BLOOMINGTON — Cities across the country are making their case, enticing new residents who have switched to remote work during the pandemic.
Remote work programs were happening before the pandemic, but interest in them have increased in the last two years.
Bloomington is a city benefiting from this peaked interest. Bloomington Remote has ramped up since the pandemic started according to Pat East, executive director of The Mill, a co-working space in Bloomington.
"We had hundreds of applicants for the first cohort. We moved more than 10 people here already, some from outside of the country," East said.
Abby Cox is one of the people who was selected as part of Bloomington Remote. The successful Youtuber has ties to Bloomington. She attended Indiana University. However, she was living in Reno, Nevada before making the move back to central Indiana.
Cox says the cost of living is much cheaper in Bloomington compared to Reno.
According to Payscale.com, Bloomington's housing and healthcare expenses are 12% lower than the country's national average. The utility prices are 5% lower . Grocery prices are 4% lower.
Those economic benefits, plus the draw of the city, are what East said make Bloomington Remote so appealing.
"They bring themselves and their spending power. They're going to be buying homes, paying taxes in the area. For a very modest investment to recruit these individuals, they get long-term large returns in terms of that local spending and tax income," said Evan Hock, president of MakeMyMove, the company that does marketing for cities with remote work.
"These cities have lost population over the past decade not because they aren't great places to live but because people moved to find opportunity. Really, the remote work revolution is a way to redistribute a lot of that impact from those coastal cities to enterprising communities like Bloomington," East said.
Cox added, "I would definitely encourage people to look into especially if you're someone who like the benefits of an urban lifestyle but then also don't want the difficulties of an urban lifestyle."
She points to the plethora of food options, renowned speakers, and world-class acts that pass through Bloomington. All things you can go see and then, be back at your home in five to 10 minutes.
A survey released this month by Upwork, a platform for freelance workers, found more than 9% of people are planning on moving after switching to remote work.