How many people define themselves as digital nomads? How much do digital nomads earn on average? Reports on digital nomads have started to be compiled and published that can answer some of these questions.
It can be challenging to analyse the market for digital nomads because it tends to be quite fluid: people who work as digital nomads may change career paths and decide to become permanent residents in one country, for example.
A 2018 study from MBO Partners calculated that in the United States 4.8 million people defined themselves as digital nomads, working independently from remote locations. This study also found that the majority of these digital nomads are male, making up approximately two thirds of the total, and are on average in their thirties, although many age groups are represented. The jobs that tend to be most suitable for a digital nomad lifestyle are in the marketing, creative and IT sectors. In terms of salary, MBO Partners calculated that one in six digital nomads earn $75,000 per year.
Another MBO Partners study in collaboration with Emergent Research found that the number of Americans describing themselves as digital nomads rose to 10.9 million in 2020.
At Digital Nomad Europe we ran a salary survey and the results were that the majority of digital nomads earn between $10,000 and $50,000 a year, followed by $50,000 to $100,000 a year.
CEOWORLD Magazine quoted a survey from the Adventure Travel Trade Association profiling digital nomads: about a third worked as freelancers collaborating with a number of companies, a third owned their own business, about a quarter worked either as employees for one company or as a consultant for one company. This study also found that the most popular destinations for digital nomads were Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Thailand.
It is worth noting, though, that the term ‘digital nomad’ and ‘remote worker’ can’t always be used interchangeably, because a remote worker may not travel to different locations like a digital nomad would, and remote workers may be employees of a company, whereas digital nomads are more likely to be self-employed.
CEO WORLD reported that current predictions see that by 2030 there will be 1 billion digital nomads worldwide.
Fortune quoted a survey from American Express about global travel based on customer research data over seven international markets stating that 54% of respondents aspired to become digital nomads.
Harvard Business Review surveyed digital nomads asking about job satisfaction and the results were that 90% of respondents said they had high levels of job satisfaction.
Of course these types of figures are encouraging, but experienced digital nomads will also acknowledge the challenges of working and travelling. However, for those individuals who prefer to work independently and are willing to accept a certain degree of uncertainty, a digital nomad lifestyle is a good fit.