Top 10 most affordable cities for freelancers

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More than a third of the U.S. workforce freelanced in 2016, generating an estimated $1 trillion, according to freelance-data website Upwork.

Some freelances are also employed elsewhere and use freelancing as a side gig to supplement a full- or part-time job, while others commit to it as a lifestyle. Millennials and those in Generation Z freelance more than any other group, the data shows. And the percentage of these independent workers is projected to increase this year.

Personal finance site How Much conducted some research to find out how much freelancers actually make and where they can afford to live and came up with the map below. Click to expand.

Using graphic designers as a representative stand-in, the site makes a few "reasonable assumptions about their lifestyle." Typical freelancers, for the purposes of this experiment, are single adults with no children, moderate living expenses and a 1,000-square foot apartment, "which is a good sized one-bedroom in most cities."

How Much compares these expenses to the median annual income graphic designers make around the country and finds that "freelancers can make ends meet in almost every city." Only a handful of the priciest and trendiest metro regions, including New York, San Francisco, Portland and Austin, are out of bounds.

Overall, the site says, here are the top 10 most affordable cities for freelancers to live:

Spokane, Wash.


North Las Vegas, Nev.


Las Vegas, Nev.


Henderson, Nev.


Reno, Nev.


Buffalo, New York


Jacksonville, Fla.


Fort Worth, Texas


Laredo, Texas


Newark, New Jersey


If you want to get started in freelancing, take some tips from this freelancer who earns six figures.

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