Digital Nomads in Numbers
How much does a nomad earn? How many nomads are out there? What are the favorite nomads’ countries? Fascinating bits of digital nomad statistics. Digital nomads as a phenomenon are no new to the world. However, with the pandemic introducing so many people to the opportunity of remote work, we hear more and more of them every day.
Who are the digital nomads of today? Can yesterday's office worker become one? How many visa stamps does one need to carry the “nomad” name proudly? Or is that indifferent?
We gathered several fascinating statistics on digital nomads' lifestyle, features, finances, and more. Let's dive in!
Who Are Digital Nomads?
Digital nomads are people who work with the help of digital products and have a mobile lifestyle. Yes, it’s that simple. If you’re interested in a more detailed definition, check out our article “NNN” — here we talk numbers!
The research states that there are about 35,000,000 digital nomads worldwide. Quite impressive, right?
According to the studies, almost half of all the digital nomads out there are in their 30s (about 47%). Following them are digital nomads in their 40s — about 19%. Based on this, the average age for a digital nomad is 40 years old (32 in the case of the USA).
About 61% of them started nomading back in their 20s.
Here we have a neck and neck division: there are 49.81% women and 50.19% men pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle. So close!
Most and Least Common Occupations
Based on the data, there is almost every profession presented among the digital nomads. That’s reassuring and proves that anyone can work and travel the way they want! However, the most common spheres for the digital nomads to be employed in are:
- IT and development
In fact, the spheres listed above take about 51% of the whole professional pool. Among the rarest (but yet existing!) nomad professions are:
- Urban planning,
Only 14% of all nomads say they work in one of these fields and yet manage to pursue a nomad lifestyle. Read about how a lawyer can become a digital nomad in our article “Meet the Nomad: Lawyer On the Go”.
Another interesting fact: about 83% of all nomads are self-employed or freelancing, while only 17% are employed by a company on a full-time remote basis. Will this number grow as more and more companies implement remote work as their norm? We’d expect it to, but let’s be patient.
The majority of the digital nomads (53%, in fact) are self-taught in their current job and believe that one doesn’t need a classic education to work as a nomad.
Despite many nomads supporting the idea of the irrelevance of traditional education, about 45% of them carry a university degree or a school/course certificate proving their training in the current field. These nomads claim that classic education provided a necessary and irreplaceable base for them.
There are four major world “suppliers” of digital nomads: 51% of all nomads come from the United States of America, Portugal, Germany, and Brazil. More than half of this percentage is accounted for by American citizens, followed by contributors from the other three countries. Another 49% are represented by 35 more countries across the globe.
For many beginning nomads, the biggest issue is finances and calculations on how much one needs to live as a nomad. Some believe an egg today’s better than a hen tomorrow and choose to live high, some prefer things others might call “downshifting” and sparing money.
But according to researchers, the average monthly budget for a single nomad is about $1875 (about $22,000 annual).
When it comes to counting money, digital nomads are far from downshifting classics. Compared to average working-class salaries, nomads are earning pretty well depending on the country: sometimes self-employment as a nomad offers twice as much as an average salary. The absence of long-term additional expenses like mortgages or car repayments also plays into hands.
The most common places for nomads are coastal countries with good transport accessibility and a lower income per capita compared to an average nomad budget.
According to the research, the most popular countries for nomads across the world are:
Considering regions, Southeast Asia was rated the most popular one by 34% surveyed.
The first criterion that nomads are looking at when choosing a new place to travel is the cost of living and accessible Internet followed by safety, access to outdoor nature, and coworking culture.
According to all the surveys, this is a question of personal approach. Some prefer to stay on the go for a while (up to a year of non-stop traveling). Others travel in shorter sessions, combining time on the road with breaks in their home country.
There is no universal pattern for the pace of travel, but 80% of nomads claim that the optimal time for staying in one place lies between 3 and 9 months. Most nomads favor 6 months as their “country” cycle.
About 50% of nomads have been on the road for 4 years.
Remote work and working on the go require some adjustments. About 23% of digital nomads prefer to work from their accommodation, be it a hotel, an apartment, or a co-living. That’s why many nomads choose their housing very carefully.
However, a majority of nomads admitted — they need a change of surroundings at least once a week. Hence, even those who mostly work from home, visit cafes, coworking spaces, or any more or less equipped facility to socialize and keep in touch with other expats.
Regarding the definition of perfect work conditions, digital nomads fall into two categories: ones that need perfect silence to focus and ones who need the white noise of a cafe or other people in the background.
Nomads’ work hours are usually related to their occupation and can either depend fully on the nomad’s biorhythms or on the time zone of their major clients. According to the surveys, most nomads stated their work hours were between 20 and 60 per week depending mostly on the field.
Digital Nomad Struggle Points
Although the nomad lifestyle is positively awesome, there are some downsides, naturally. The majority of surveyed nomads choose loneliness as their main concern. The mobile lifestyle means there are a lot of new connections but most of the old friends and family are left behind.
Trouble finding new clients and retaining old ones shares the first place with loneliness. Followed by long-term culture shock, this makes the three most common downsides nomads mention when approaching their lifestyle critically.
Other popular answers were:
- Taxation issues and statuses
- Healthcare and insurances
- Lack of familiar items and services that might be commonly available back at home
These statistics prove one thing — although there is a more or less common portrait of a modern digital nomad, every single one is different. The beauty of the digital nomad lifestyle is that you barely have any borders or rules to fall under. Lots of options — very few limitations.
It’s an exciting approach for curious people, and it doesn’t matter if you spend your whole life on the road or take a two-week workation trip from time to time — it’s worth it!