Nomadism is growing and — as you’ll see from these digital nomad statistics — will continue to explode in the future.
People are craving adventure and remote work has never been more popular.
We all have our own preconceptions when it comes to nomads, but some of these digital nomad stats will surprise you.
We’ll look at:
- What type of people make up the digital nomad demographic?
- How long does the average nomad stay on the road?
- What are the biggest struggles digital nomads face?
- How much does digital nomad life cost?
- What’s the future outlook for nomads?
- How much do digital nomads make?
- And much more.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- Key Digital Nomad Statistics and Facts
- Who Are Digital Nomads?
- How many digital nomads are there?
- Women are leading the way with digital nomadism.
- Nearly half of digital nomads are in their 30s.
- Digital nomads come from all over the world and represent every age group and gender.
- They’re not just gig workers — they include CEOs, artists, writers, programmers, teachers…the list goes on!
- How Much Do Digital Nomads Earn?
- What’s the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Actually Like?
- Seven out of 10 digital nomads plan to continue the lifestyle for at least 2 to 3 years.
- Only 24% of location-independent remote workers actually travel while working.
- Of the 24% who work while traveling, 54% only visit 1-2 countries per year.
- Digital nomads and remote workers are more productive than office workers.
- One of the top challenges of digital nomad jobs is finding reliable wifi.
- Digital nomads are productivity machines.
- What Does the Future Look Like for Digital Nomads?
- Digital Nomad Trends In the Years to Come
- Sources used in this article:
Key Digital Nomad Statistics and Facts
- The number of digital nomads from the U.S. nearly quadrupled during the pandemic (17.3 million in 2019 to 16.9 million in 2022) but has now leveled off at 17.3 million in 2023.
- The total number of digital nomads has ballooned to over 35 million, with 49% coming from the United States.
- 47% of digital nomads are in their 30s.
- 76% of American digital nomads are white, 18% are African-American, 8% are Hispanic, 4% are Asian, and 3% are of other ethnicity.
- 66% of digital nomads are traditional remote employees and 34% are independent workers — a shift caused by the pandemic-driven remote work boom.
- 49% of digital nomads earn the same salary (or more) than their prior office job.
- 45% of American digital nomads earn over $75,000 per year while enjoying a lower cost of living.
- 71% plan to continue the digital nomad lifestyle for at least the next 2 to 3 years.
- Only 24% of location-independent remote workers actually mix work and travel simultaneously.
- Most digital nomads travel slowly, with only 17% visiting more than 5 countries per year.
- Over half of digital nomads (52%) rated finding reliable wifi as one of the top challenges of the nomadic lifestyle.
- Only 30% of digital nomads report working over 40 hours per week.
- The number of van lifers grew to 3.1 million in 2022, making up 18% of American digital nomads.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these digital nomad trends.
Who Are Digital Nomads?
A digital nomad is a traveler who supports themselves online while “nomading” around the globe.
Some move independently, while others join popular digital nomad programs to travel in organized groups.
Digital nomads come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common:
A passion for travel, adventure, and most importantly, freedom.
How many digital nomads are there?
There are an estimated 35 million digital nomads worldwide, and the number of digital nomads from the U.S. has grown to more than 17.3 million. 
In 2019, there were 7.3 million Americans who identified as digital nomads. Between 2019 and 2020 (boosted by COVID-19), this figure rose by a staggering 49% to 10.9 million. By the end of 2022, the number of digital nomads has surged to 16.9 million.
Now, the latest numbers in 2023 are 17.3 million, which shows the growth is leveling off. 
A combination of increased flexibility, higher salary expectations, freedom, and the ability to work anywhere in the world.
That said, digital nomad growth is just getting started in other parts of the world. By 2035, experts predict one billion digital nomads globally. 
Women are leading the way with digital nomadism.
Digital nomads are commonly portrayed as men, but one survey found the opposite to be true, with 70% of digital nomads identifying as female. 
That said, it’s challenging to gather precise gender data using limited sample sizes.
Exact numbers aside, one thing is for certain — remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle are good for gender equality.
Becoming a mother is one of the biggest challenges for women who want to advance their careers. Taking time off work to give birth and raise children often means fewer promotions and contributes to the gender wage gap.
Becoming a digital nomad can change this. Released from their office desk and 9-5 routine, women and working mothers are flourishing.
Forty-two percent of fully remote companies have women in leadership roles. Compare this to the measly 14.2% female leadership in S&P 500 companies, and it’s no surprise women are choosing the nomadic lifestyle. 
These digital nomad statistics are incredibly refreshing — proving that a remote lifestyle encourages equality and gives female entrepreneurs a much-needed edge.
Nearly half of digital nomads are in their 30s.
COVID-19 has produced another unexpected digital nomad trend — the typical age of travelers.
Surveys show 47% of all nomads are Millennials (between 27 and 42 years old), 17% are Gen Z, and 23% are Gen X.
Before the pandemic, there was a rise of nomadic Baby Boomers (aged 58-76 years old) who chose to spend time traveling instead of sitting in their gardens.
Many opted to combine this with freelance work and, in 2019, 27% of all digital nomads were Boomers.
COVID caused this to crumble. Due to the risk of infection, many seniors returned to the safety of their homes.
This is precisely when younger workers were taking their newly remote positions on the road. And by late 2022, Baby Boomers now make up just 13% of digital nomads. 
Digital nomads come from all over the world and represent every age group and gender.
Digital nomad trends in 2023 show the nomad population is a pretty mixed bunch. Over half of digital nomads are from the United States (52%), followed by the United Kingdom (8%), Russia (5%), Canada (4%), Germany (3%), and France (3%). 
Nomads also represent every age group from 17 to 70 and older.
They’re not just gig workers — they include CEOs, artists, writers, programmers, teachers…the list goes on!
One research report shows only 38% of digital nomads work as freelancers or independent contractors. This is up 14% from last year, while digital nomads with traditional employers are down 4%. 
When it comes to profession, digital nomad jobs range from engineers to designers and creatives to marketers.
This is a huge shift from pre-pandemic days, when independent-working digital nomads outnumbered remote employee nomads from the U.S.
But during the pandemic, there was a “flippening.”
In 2022, remote-working digital nomads from the U.S. (11.1 million) left independent nomads in the dust (5.8 million).
Aside from entrepreneurs, computer programmers and engineers tend to earn higher salaries than other remote professions.
Speaking of which…
How Much Do Digital Nomads Earn?
A digital nomads survey revealed that 36% earn between $100,000 and $250,000 annually. 
Compare this to the average working American salary of $63,795, and it’s no wonder digital nomads are on the rise — especially when nomads can move to low-cost-of-living destinations. 
That said, digital nomad jobs come in all shapes and sizes, and most remote workers earn between $10 and $30 per hour, depending on their skills, experience, and field.
Income for freelancers and business owners varies wildly—from newbies earning a few bucks an hour to established business owners pulling in six figures and beyond.
Around 44% of American digital nomads earn $75,000 or more per year.
Another recent research study offers an even brighter outlook on digital nomad salaries, concluding that 42% of American nomads earn over $75,000 per year. 
However, even the 58% that are earning less than $75,000 are still seeing more cash in their pockets each month thanks to a reduced cost of living.
Many nomads choose to live and travel in countries with comparably low living costs — called “geo arbitrage” — so their money stretches further.
They also don’t have to worry about typical household bills, car payments, or even small, irregular bills like decorating costs and clothes shopping.
When you have to fit your life into your digital nomad luggage, you naturally become more minimalistic.
Whether you earn more or less than the average salary, you’re almost guaranteed to have extra savings to go towards funding retirement accounts, travel expenses, or business growth.
Digital nomads can save over $4,000 a year thanks to remote work.
This depends on your overall lifestyle, but the average employee who spends half their time working remotely saves between $600 to $6000 per year compared to those who work 100% onsite. 
These savings come from a combination of travel costs (car, car insurance, fuel), expensive lunches, child or pet care, and pricey parking fees.
Those who work remotely full-time can save even more — especially if they earn in a strong currency while living in cheaper countries (i.e., geo arbitrage).
What’s the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Actually Like?
We’ve all seen the classic beachside work photos online, but what is digital nomad life really like? Let’s look at the data.
Seven out of 10 digital nomads plan to continue the lifestyle for at least 2 to 3 years.
This is a huge change in sentiment compared to last year, where 32% of nomads considered it a “phase” that would last a year or less. 
Digital nomads seemed to think they’d be forced to return to the office, but for many, this wasn’t the case.
And as all the rookie nomads survived the initial growing pains of adapting to the lifestyle, they have a brighter outlook for the future.
The most common reasons digital nomads call it quits (other than being forced back into the office) are:
- They get tired of traveling.
- They’re spending more money than expected.
- They’re sick of dealing with logistics. 
Only 24% of location-independent remote workers actually travel while working.
According to a study on “Anywhere Workers” (i.e., remote workers who can work from anywhere), only 24% actually live a nomadic lifestyle that mixes work and travel simultaneously.
Nine percent work permanently abroad and 8% split their time between domestic and foreign destinations. But the majority (83%) simply work remotely from somewhere in their home country. 
However, this Anywhere Workers study was performed pre-pandemic, and post-pandemic data show a more balanced landscape — 42% of American nomads plan to stick within the United States, while 58% are itching to hit international destinations.
One reason nomads avoid international travel is that productivity as a digital nomad can suffer when you’re juggling time zone differences and adjusting to a different culture.
And perhaps more importantly, many traditional remote jobs don’t allow their employees to work abroad due to tax complications.
Overall, just because digital nomads have jobs that allow travel doesn’t necessarily mean they are constantly traveling. Forty-eight percent of digital nomads plan to “slow travel” this year, staying for longer periods in fewer destinations. 
This is a more sustainable option for long-term nomads.
Of the 24% who work while traveling, 54% only visit 1-2 countries per year.
Most digital nomads are less mobile than most people imagine, sticking to just a couple of countries per year.
Twenty-nine percent of digital nomads visit 3 to 5 countries, and only 17% visit more than five countries per year. 
Of those countries, an InterNations survey ranked Mexico as the best place to live for expats.
Second is Indonesia, where it’s easy to get set up and find an affordable place to live.
Taiwan is a close third thanks to its high quality of life, excellent healthcare, and safe environment.
Meanwhile, the destinations with the lowest rankings were Kuwait, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. 
That said, these rankings focus on long-term expats looking to permanently relocate. It’s a subtle difference, but most digital nomads are just temporary visitors with different priorities.
Apart from Mexico and Indonesia (Bali), other top destinations for mobile digital nomads include the ever-predictable Thailand and Colombia, but also smaller, tight-knit nomad communities like Bansko (Bulgaria) and Las Palmas (Gran Canaria, Spain).
Many countries are introducing new digital nomad visas, which may cause a shift in digital nomad hotspots in 2023 and beyond.
Europe, for example, is the region with the highest number of countries granting digital nomad visas. Something to think about if you want to travel and work remotely from places like Greece and Iceland. 
Digital nomads and remote workers are more productive than office workers.
An analysis of several thousand work-from-home studies shows that remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive than their fellow office workers. 
A Flexjobs study backs this up, reporting that:
- 68% have fewer interruptions when working remotely.
- 55% say lack of office politics is a huge bonus.
- 68% are more productive thanks to a quieter work environment.
- 63% enjoy more focused time when remote. 
That said, these benefits are largely attributed to having a routine with a comfortable home base.
Digital nomads who set up bases for months at a time see increased productivity, while those who are constantly on the move struggle to find a solid routine.
Not all business owners are happy with remote work productivity, though. In fact, 85% of business leaders find it challenging to trust that hybrid employees are being productive. 
One of the top challenges of digital nomad jobs is finding reliable wifi.
Over half of digital nomads (52%) rate finding a reliable internet connection as one of the top challenges of the nomadic lifestyle.
This is mainly due to slow mobile hotspots, dodgy internet cafes, unpredictable hotel wifi, and security issues related to using shared internet.
But wifi wasn’t the only hurdle.
Twenty-nine percent report difficulties working with colleagues in other time zones, and 20% say communication was tricky. 
This lines up with previous surveys, where 30% found it difficult to navigate time zone differences.
Apart from work-related issues, concerns about personal safety (34%), missing family and friends (32%), and feelings of loneliness (26%) are also common nomad struggles.  In another study, 84% of digital nomads reported challenges with their taxes. 
These issues cause many to quit the digital nomad lifestyle. That said, many ex-digital nomads who were interviewed now say they plan on returning to digital nomadism.
It also looks like many problems are being tackled head-on.
For example, if you’re feeling lonely, it’s now easier than ever to plug into a digital nomad community. Many tight-knit communities are forming all over the world.
Also, sites like Nomad List offer easy research to help find safe and nomad-friendly destinations.
Finally, if wifi is holding you back, coworking spaces are popping up even in remote locations.
Digital nomads are productivity machines.
Digital nomads are a special breed of remote workers who learn to cram their work into smaller periods of time — especially if they are trying to fit travel hobbies into their schedule.
One survey found that 70% of digital nomads work 40 hours or less per week.
Less than 1 in 3 nomads work over 40 hours per week, which means most nomads have a better work-life balance than traditional workers. 
This is especially true for nomads who travel frequently and need time to plan out logistics — a whole job in itself.
The more often you travel, the more time you spend organizing transportation, finding accommodation, researching cultural information, and figuring out where things are and how things work in each new destination.
Another reason many digital nomads work less than non-nomads is that they simply need less money to live on.
For example, rent in San Francisco is over nine times higher than it is in Chiang Mai, Thailand — a popular digital nomad hub. That means nomads who make this move could theoretically cut their working hours by 90% or more, assuming they continue earning similar rates. 
What Does the Future Look Like for Digital Nomads?
The work dynamic is changing rapidly, including a shift towards nomadism. But what does the data say about the outlook for the digital nomad movement?
More people are becoming digital nomads every day.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘digital nomad’ before. It’s not a new concept. The difference is that these days, everyone is jumping on board — from bootstrapping solopreneurs to retirees to complete digital nomad families.
Google search results for the term “digital nomad” exploded from 1,300,000 in January 2019 to over 68,900,000 in November 2023.
Surveys show 25 million Americans plan on becoming digital nomads in the next 2 to 3 years, and an additional 48 million Americans said they were considering it. That’s a 33% increase in interest since 2019. 
The number of telecommuters tripled from 2019 to 2021.
This is the most recent data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. 
By the time new data is released, even more of the workforce will be remote.
Technology has advanced to the point where 56% of workers could do at least some of their job remotely. In fact, 58% of survey respondents were offered either a part-time or full-time remote work arrangement in 2022. [8, 17]
Although some remote workers will eventually return to the office, 71% of companies are permanently offering new remote positions to cut costs during hard economic times.
It’s estimated that 36.2 million Americans (22%) will still be working remotely by 2025. 
Overall, this increased freedom will have a huge impact on the digital nomad population.
Digital Nomad Trends In the Years to Come
The future looks bright for digital nomads.
Not only have most travel restrictions disappeared, but more and more countries are creating special visas to attract digital nomads.
The pandemic taught us that many workers don’t need a set location or office to effectively do their jobs.
To retain top talent and cut costs during the 2023 economic downturn, many companies will have to adopt permanent remote work policies.
Only 6% of Americans with remote-capable jobs say they want to work completely onsite. And 60% of fully remote employees say they’re extremely likely to find a new job if their remote flexibility is taken away. 
These shifting priorities will eventually become the “new normal”, leading to interesting 2023 digital nomad statistics as the year progresses.
While the end of the pandemic will see people jetting off to every corner of the world, other digital nomads will stay closer to home.
Many workplaces are adopting hybrid policies with occasional face-to-face meetups that require employees to stay within range. This, however, opens the doors for the exploding Van-Life Movement, which grew to 18% of American digital nomads (3.1 million) in 2022. 
We’ll also likely have more “slow travelers” going forward.
Long stays are exploding on Airbnb, with stays over 28 days making up 18% of gross bookings for Q2 2023. Nowadays, a growing percentage of users no longer use Airbnb to travel, they use it to live. These market shifts are expected to continue in the future. 
We’ve all been cooped up for so long that — now that we can finally travel — we may not ever want to go home.
And as a digital nomad, you don’t have to.
Sources used in this article:
1. MBO Partners Report
7. Social Security Administration
8. Global Workplace Analytics
11. Global Workplace Analytics
14. Sleep Junkie Survey
16. U.S. Census Bureau
20. Airbnb 2022 Q4 Report
21. Flatio Digital Nomad Report
24. Dark Side of Digital Nomadism
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered — where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).