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63 Surprising Digital Nomad Statistics in 2021

We analyzed over 4000 poll and survey responses from the English-speaking digital nomad community across the globe, including all nationalities, to better understand digital nomads, how they exist, and how the world is changing related to digital nomads.  In this new, original research study, we’ll share 63 surprising digital nomad statistics, and you’ll learn:

  1. Who are digital nomads (age, sex, nationality, ethnicity)
  2. The common and uncommon professions of digital nomads, education/training, and how they earn a living
  3. Where digital nomads commonly live and travel, favorite locations, and why
  4. How DNs live, work, date, and plan for the future
  5. Common persisting struggles and pain points of digital nomads
  6. How the world and individual countries are adapting to digital nomads to take advantage of the $787 Billion economic opportunity of the digital nomad community
  7. Answers to frequently asked questions about digital nomads
  8. And lot’s more…

Let’s dive right into the findings!

Interested in sharing your perspective as a digital nomad?

Click here to take our survey and share your experience and background as a digital nomad!

KEY FINDINGS & DIGITAL NOMAD STATISTICS

A MACRO VIEW OF DIGITAL NOMADS STATISTICS ACROSS THE GLOBE

  • There are over 35,000,000 digital nomads across the globe of varied nationalities
  • The global digital nomad community’s economic value is $787,000,000,000 per year, calculated as the aggregate of digital nomad spending annually.
  • If the global digital nomad community were a country, it would rank #41 by population size, just after Canada (37,742,154) and Morocco (36,910,560) in population size
  • If the global digital nomad community were a country, it would 38th most prosperous country based on gross national income per capita, ranking just after Portugal ($23,200 average annual income per person) and Saudi Arabia ($22,840 average annual income per person)
  • The average digital nomad has a higher monthly budget than the average income of citizens from the top 5 countries digital nomads prefer to nomad, and 9 of the top 10 countries for digital nomads
Digital nomad statistics infographic | ABrotherAbroad.com

WHO ARE DIGITAL NOMADS




  • The digital nomad community is split nearly evenly between males and females at 49.81% females and 50.19% males
  • Most (76%) of digital nomads are white (European descent), followed by Latino/Hispanic nomads (10%), Asian nomads (8%), and black (African descent) nomads at 6%
  • The four most common nationalities for digital nomads are the US (31% of digital nomads), Portugal (8% of digital nomads), Germany (7% of digital nomads), and Brazil (5%).  The US, Portugal, Germany, and Brazil comprise 51% of digital nomads’ nationalities across the globe.  The remaining 49% of nomads surveyed represent 35 other countries.
  • The average age of digital nomads is 40 years old; however, most (47%) digital nomads are in their 30’s
  • Ages 29, 33, and 39 are the most common among DNs and evenly comprise 23% of all digital nomads
  • US citizens make up 31% of digital nomads across the globe and are the most represented nationality in the digital nomad community
  • Though 61% of respondents reported starting their journey as a nomad in their 20’s, 39% reported starting at 30 or later
  • The oldest digital nomad reported in this study was 72 years old
  • The surveyed digital nomads have been traveling for 6.1 years on average, and 85% have been on the road longer than 1 year

UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL NOMADS

  • INSIGHT: Though digital nomads strive for locational freedom, as the brand suggests, for most digital nomads, location independence is a means to an end – usually lifestyle freedom (time, activities), geo-arbitrage, work flexibility and lastly travel, but usually the driver is a mix of all of these

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

  • 53% of digital nomads are self-taught in their current profession and believe they could have done so without traditional education
  • 45% of digital nomads credit traditional education, university, college, or a vocational school for directly training them for their current nomad profession or providing an essential foundation in a way they could not have achieved on their own
  • 2% of digital nomads were trained in the current profession as a digital nomad during time served in the military
  • 29.6% of digital nomads have no higher education, 26% of digital nomads have an undergraduate degree, 37% of digital nomads have a graduate degree, and 7.4% of digital nomads have a Ph.D. or MD

PROFESSIONS OF DIGITAL NOMADS

DIGITAL NOMAD INCOME AND SPENDING

  • The average digital nomad has a $1,875 monthly budget ($22,500 annual budget)

THE DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE: PACE OF TRAVEL

  • 66% of digital nomads prefer to stay in a single place for 3 to 6 months, with six months being the sweet spot for most digital nomads.  80% of nomads prefer to stay in one place for 3 to 9 months
  • 30% of digital nomads on the road have been traveling for two years or less
  • 50% of digital nomads on the road have traveled for four years or less
  • 30% of digital nomads have been traveling 10+ years

THE DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE: WHERE DNs PREFER TO WORK

  • Digital nomads prefer to work at their home or accommodation over anywhere else (23% of nomads surveyed)
  • 21% of nomads prefer to primarily work at coworking spaces, while 14% preferred to work in cafes over any other option
  • 6% of DNs prefer to work in public libraries
  • INSIGHT: Digital nomads are generally willing to pay a substantial additional charge for a guesthouse, BnB, hostel, or hotel properly equipped for work (fast, reliable internet, comfortable chair, desk, plugs, work conducive atmosphere). However, the host should ensure the amenities are properly advertised and validated in objective customer reviews for the property.
  • INSIGHT: In this study, DNs fell into two groups regarding the preferred workplace.  Nomads either required white noise and background energy to stay focused or needed perfect silence for focus and meetings – work location preference correlated accordingly
  • INSIGHT: Regardless of whether nomads surveyed preferred home, coworking, a café, or outdoors, many cited needing to work in a space with other people at least once per week and at most once per day for mental and social health reasons.

FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD LOCATIONS

  • Cost of living and fast, accessible internet is the major factor in choosing a location to most nomads, reported as factor #1 by 56% of nomads
  • Other factors reported as the most important factor of a location to nomads were safety (crime, environmental safety) by 15% of nomads surveyed, access to outdoors and nature by 11% surveyed, DN friendly visa situation by 9%, and café/coworking culture by 3% surveyed

WHERE ARE DN’s NOW?

FAVORITE LOCATIONS OF DNs

  • 9 of the top 10 preferred locations for digital nomads are coastal countries that are gateways to their region (major airport and intl. flights) and a gross national income per capita that is less than the average budget of a digital nomad
  • Mexico was rated as the top location for digital nomads by 13% of nomads surveyed, followed by Thailand (12% of nomads surveyed), Indonesia (9% of nomads surveyed), Colombia (7% of nomads surveyed), and Vietnam (5% of nomads surveyed)
  • Portugal was rated the top digital nomad location in Western Europe
  • Turkey was rated the top digital nomad location in the Middle East
  • Croatia was rated the top location in the Balkans and Eastern Europe
  • South Africa was rated the top location in Africa for DNs
  • Southeast Asia was rated the most popular region for DNs with 34% of the votes, followed by Central America with 16% of the votes and South America with 13% of the votes

DIGITAL NOMAD DATING

  • Brazil was rated the top country globally for dating as a nomad
  • London was rated the single best city for dating as a digital nomad
  • Latin America and Western Europe tied as the best regions for dating as a nomad
  • INSIGHT: The top locations for “dating” (Brazil, London, and Latin America) fared well for short term dating, long term dating, dating locals, and dating other nomads/ex-pats
  • Polling on the worst country for dating was inconclusive.  Click here to read why below…

DIGITAL NOMAD STRUGGLES AND PAIN POINTS

  • Loneliness, missing family & friends, and lack connection is the #1 reason digital nomads return home
  • Traveler fatigue and long term culture shock is the #2 reason why digital nomads return home
  • The #1 struggle for nomads while traveling is retaining old clients/customers and finding new clients/customers
  • The remaining of the top 5 struggles for digital nomads on the road (in order from most to least important) were
    • Handling special tax issues as a digital nomad
    • Medical issues and medical insurance issues
    • Loneliness
    • Availability of items that are commonly available at home

HOW THE WORLD IS ADAPTING TO DIGITAL NOMADS

  • 21 countries have created a digital nomad visa or have a program targeting digital nomads
  • 28 countries offer visas valid for six months or more that are digital nomad friendly

DN RETIREMENT PLANNING

  • 35% of nomads use real estate investment as their primary retirement vehicle
  • 23% of nomads are using stocks as their primary retirement vehicle in both private and tax-deferred/retirement accounts
  • 10% of nomads are investing in cryptocurrency as their primary retirement investment vehicle
  • 10% of nomads cite FIRE in the retirement planning strategy and intend to retire early
  • 3% of nomads keep only cash (no other investments)
  • 4% of nomads plan on working until they die.  This approach is chosen primarily due to lack of savings and having no retirement plan or investments

(Click here to jump straight to the full study)

ESSENTIAL CONTEXT FOR THIS DIGITAL NOMAD STATISTICS AND INSIGHTS STUDY

1. WHAT IS A DIGITAL NOMAD?

A digital nomad is any person who perform their jobs primarily using mobile technology which allows them location independence.  Digital nomads use this location independence to live outside of their home province or state and change their location routinely, staying in a single location for anywhere from days 2 or more years but ultimate changing locations again at some point.

The defining criteria of a digital nomad are location independence, performing a job using mobile technology and internet access, living outside of their home state or province, and changing locations routinely.

2. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIGITAL NOMADS AND REMOTE WORKERS?

Though remote workers and digital nomads are both location independent and work in a different place than their employers and clients, digital nomads use the location independence to change locations routinely and often frequently, whereas remote workers stay in a single location.

Digital nomads are by definition remote workers, but not all remote workers are digital nomads.

3. WHY DOES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIGITAL NOMADS AND REMOTE WORKERS MATTER?

Due to significant lifestyle differences, remote workers and digital nomads have different needs and preferences.  Visas, coworking, frequent accommodation booking, the need to travel light and stay mobile, and culture and language barriers are some of the frequently changing lifestyle elements that digital nomads cope with that the average remote worker may not.

As such, this study focuses only on digital nomad statistics and insights to inform tourism boards, governments, service providers, product developers, brands, and aspiring nomads.

4. WHY WE’VE UNDERTAKEN THIS STUDY.

For tourism boards, governments, service providers, product developers, brands, this study will provide a realistic, data based view of the average lifestyle of digital nomads across the globe, their needs, their preferences, and provides data that will empower you to build a beneficial relationship with them.

For aspiring nomads, this study provides a fact based view of the DN lifestyle to help you prepare and manage expectations.

DIGITAL NOMAD FAQS

How many digital nomads are there in the world?

  • There are over 35,000,000 digital nomads around the world

How much can you make as a digital nomad?

  • The average digital nomad maintains a budget of $1,875 per month, not including savings and reinvesting in their business.  However, in this study outliers reported making more than $1 million per year as digital nomads

Is it legal to be a digital nomad?

  • Yes, as long as the digital nomad maintains the proper visa status and pays taxes appropriately to their home country and (if applicable) their host country

Do digital nomads still pay taxes?

  • Yes, nomads do still pay taxes, either to their home country or host country and in some cases to both.  Taxes were reported as one of the major struggles for digital nomads (read more here)

What jobs do digital nomads do?

  • With a properly established business, digital nomads can work in nearly any profession.  Though 51% of nomads surveyed worked in marketing, computer sciences/IT, design, writing, and eCommerce, 14% worked in more traditional fields such as architecture, medicine, law, urban planning, Engineering, and more (read more)

DIGITAL NOMAD STATISTICS, INSIGHTS, AND KEY FINDINGS


A MACRO VIEW OF DIGITAL NOMADS ACROSS THE GLOBE

  1. There are over 35,000,000 digital nomads across the globe of varied nationalities
  2. The global digital nomad community’s economic value is $787,000,000 per year, calculated as the aggregate of digital nomad spending annually.
  3. If the global digital nomad community were a country, it would rank #41 by population size, just after Canada (37,742,154) and Morocco (36,910,560) in population size
  4. If the global digital nomad community were a country, it would 38th most prosperous country based on gross national income per capita, ranking just after Portugal ($23,200 average annual income per person) and Saudi Arabia ($22,840 average annual income per person)

In recent years, the number of digital nomads has drastically increased due to better connectivity, better technology, and information proliferation.  This perfect storm of resources has allowed a coming generation of remote worker turned travelers to learn new skills, deliver services, and package and scale these offerings as full businesses.  The result is a quickly growing community of location-independent earners that present an economic opportunity – and a low effort influx of cash and economic boost – to the countries that welcome them.

In the last section of this report, we’ll review how countries have responded to the economic opportunity to allow digital nomads to reside in a host country.

  • The average digital nomad has a higher monthly budget than the average income of citizens from the top 5 countries digital nomads prefer to nomad, and 9 of the top 10.  This average income difference creates a high potential for a net positive economic impact on host countries’ local economies simply by allowing digital nomads to reside in the country.

Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, and Vietnam are the top 5 most preferred countries by digital nomads, and the average digital nomad arriving in these countries has a higher income and more purchasing power than the average citizen of these great places. 

This situation, wherein digital nomads bring foreign earned income to spend among the local population, presents an opportunity to inject cash into and boost each of these countries’ local economies.

Digital nomads are “low load travelers,” creating a very little burden for host countries.  DNs normally carry travel insurance, healthcare insurance and require little external support from local economies.  In contrast,  the additional money brought into and spent in the country creates a net positive economic benefit for the host countries.  This benefit only comes at the expense of loosening visa restrictions for digital nomads, publicity, and information sharing.

WHO ARE DIGITAL NOMADS

  • The digital nomad community is split nearly evenly between males and females at 49.81% females and 50.19% males
  • Most (76%) of digital nomads are white (European descent), followed by Latino/Hispanic nomads (10%), Asian nomads (8%), and black (African descent) nomads at 6%

White travelers over-index on representation among the digital nomad community relative to population back in their home countries; however, the gender gap is non-existent in digital nomad representation.

  • US citizens make up 31% of digital nomads across the globe and are the most represented nationality in the digital nomad community
  • The four most common nationalities for digital nomads are the US (31% of digital nomads), Portugal (8% of digital nomads), Germany (7% of digital nomads), and Brazil (5%).  Citizens of the US, Portugal, Germany, and Brazil comprise 51% of digital nomads’ nationalities globally, residing outside their home countries.  The remaining 49% of nomads surveyed represent 35 other countries.
  • The average age of digital nomads is 40 years old; however, most (47%) digital nomads are in their 30’s
  • Ages 29, 33, and 39 are the most common and evenly comprise 23% of all digital nomads
  • The surveyed digital nomads have been traveling for 6.1 years on average, and 85% have been on the road longer than 1 year

Despite common stereotypes of digital nomads being young and fresh out of college, most digital nomads tend to be seasoned, more mature, and clustered into “phases of life.” Anecdotal evidence in this study showed that many nomads in their late 30’s and beyond commonly reached a level of success and expertise in their previous career that allowed them to transition to being a remote worker and later a small business owner.

Other age groups of nomads (commonly in the 29 and 33 group) left mid-career and attempted a transition or a full career change.

Though 61% of respondents reported starting their journey as a nomad in their 20’s, 39% reported starting at 30 or later

The oldest observed digital nomad in this study was 72 years old!

INSIGHT: This study shows that though stereotypes and popular culture depict digital nomads as “young,” the evidence shows that the journey as a nomad can be started or continued at any age

UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL NOMADS

  1. INSIGHT: Though digital nomads strive for locational freedom, as the brand suggests, for most digital nomads, this is a means to an end – usually lifestyle freedom (time, activities), geo-arbitrage, work flexibility, and lastly, travel, but usually the driver is a mix of all of these

When asked why they became digital nomads, the study’s least common response was “travel.” More common and varying answers focused on freedom in time, lifestyle freedom, and the ability to change all elements of one’s life (work, play, etc.) to create a more enjoyable life with fewer restrictions.  Many respondents also cited geo-arbitrage and the ability to work less while maintaining the same quality of life or working the same amount and achieving a higher quality of life by moving to lower-cost locations.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

  1. 53% of digital nomads are self-taught in their current profession and believe they could have done so without traditional education
  2. 45% of digital nomads credit traditional education, university, college, or a vocational school for directly training them for their current nomad profession or providing an essential foundation in a way they could not have achieved on their own
  3. 2% of digital nomads were trained in the current profession as a digital nomad during time served in the military
  4. 29.6% of digital nomads have no higher education, 26% of digital nomads have an undergraduate degree, 37% of digital nomads have a graduate degree, and 7.4% of digital nomads have a Ph.D. or MD

Traditional education was valued by nomads that:

  • Require credentials for their career (engineering, medicine, therapy, etc.)
  • Work in fields where results are difficult to display (app developers vs. Public Relations managers)
  • Need it to get the first job (common for data scientists, computer scientists, etc.)
  • Needed a structured approach to learning critical analysis and building foundational knowledge to support analytical skills

Beyond these circumstances, most digital nomads could teach themselves the skills and display their abilities via prior results on small projects or turn the newly learned skills into freelance work or a small business.

PROFESSIONS OF DIGITAL NOMADS

Digital Nomad Jobs | Digital Nomad Statistics | ABrotherAbroad.com
  1. 83% of digital nomads are self-employed, while 17% employed by companies as remote workers
  2. 66% of self-employed digital nomads report owning their own business, while 34% work as freelancers or gig workers
  3. The most common professions for digital nomads are marketing, computer sciences/IT, design, writing, and eCommerce and account for 51% of all reported digital nomad professions.
  4. 14% of digital nomad professions are careers not commonly associated with DNs, such as architecture, medicine law, urban planning, Engineering, and more including the following:
    • Architect
    • Accounting / Bookkeeping / Tax Prep
    • Legal
    • Project Management
    • Human Resources / Recruiting
    • Medical Field
    • Psychology/Therapy
    • Engineer
    • Product Management
    • Psychologist
    • Resarcher
    • Urban Planner
    • Massage Therapy
    • Mathmetician
    • Remote Property Management
    • Real Estate
    • Trademark Lawyer
  • E-commerce and coaching/consulting are the most common fields for digital nomads that own their own business (26% of all business owners surveyed)
  • Reported professions of successful digital nomads, listed in order of representation
    • Marketing
    •  – Marketing – Advertising
    •  – Marketing – Sales / Business Development
    •  – Marketing – Affiliate marketing
    • Computer Sciences /IT
    •  – Computer Sciences /IT –  Data Scientist / Data Engineer
    •  – Computer Sciences /IT –  Security Engineer / Cybersecurity / Information Secuirty
    •  – Computer Sciences /IT – Software Engineer /Developer/Coder
    •  – Computer Sciences /IT – Web Developer
    •  – Computer Sciences/IT – Network Engineer
    •  – Computer Sciensces/IT – delivering a software as a service (SAAS)
    • Design / Graphic / Web Page Design / Document Design /Branding / UX/UI Design
    •  – Graphic Design – Web Design
    •  – Graphic Design
    • Content Writer\Copywriter\Writer\Editor
    • eCommerce (including dropshipping)
    • Photographer
    • Teaching (Professors/ Online Traditional Ed.)
    •  –  Teaching – ESL
    •  –  Teaching – Teaching Languages (other than English)
    •  –  Teaching – Traditional Education, Online (Professors, online/home schooling, etc.)
    • Translator
    • Virtual Assistant / Business Support / Executive Assistant
    • Journalist / Traditional Writer
    • Coaching
    • Videographer
    • Architect
    • Business Consulting/ Business Coaching/Sales Consulting
    • Social Media Management
    • Accounting / Bookkeeping / Tax Prep
    • Legal
    • Project Management
    • Business Analytics / Business Intelligence
    • Human Resources / Recruiting
    • Medical Field
    • Psychology/Therapy
    • SEO
    • Trading (Stocks, FOREX, crypto, etc.)
    • Engineer
    • Entrepreneur/Small Business Owner
    • Product Management
    • Psychologist
    • Resarcher
    • Urban Planner
    • Virtual host
    •  – Virtual host – Virtual Gameshows
    •  – Virtual host – Workshops
    • Artist
    • Assistant
    • Blogging
    • Digital Media
    • FBA/Dropshipping
    • Fitness services
    • Insurance
    • Massage Therapy
    • Mathmetician
    • Nutritionist / Health coaching
    • Online Education (Subset)
    • Podcast editing and production
    • PR
    • Remote Property Management
    • Retired
    • Real Estate
    • Trademark Lawyer
    • Vlogger
  • Reported professions of DN business owners, in order of representation
    • E-Commerce
    • Coaching
    • Agency (Creative, marketing, sales)
    • Marketing
    • Translation Services
    • Teaching
    • Podcast Editing/Production
    • Virtual Assistant
    • Virtual Host
    • SAAS (Software as a service)
    • Social Media Management
    • Graphic Design / Visual branding
    • Videography, Video Editing, Video Production
    • Product management
    • Coding
    • Business Consulting Services
    • Real Estate Sales
    • Stock Trading
    • Personal Fitness Training
    • Web Design
    • Engineering
    • Web Development
    • Photo editing
    • SEO
    • Human Resources
    • Insurance
    • Medical Writing
    • Architecture
    • Writing/Editing
    • Therapy/Counseling

Click here to learn more about the top digital nomad jobs

DIGITAL NOMAD INCOME AND SPENDING

  • The average digital nomad has a $1,875 monthly budget ($22,500 annual budget)

In this study we researched the average budget for digital nomads’ spending monthly, not including retirement investment and reinvestment in their businesses. By analyzing the digital nomad market, and economic value, we present the amount that digital nomads spend monthly on goods and services to support their lifestyle – potentially paid into local economy and to product and service providers targeting digital nomads

  • The annual budget of the average digital nomad is $22,499
  • The annual spending of the global digital nomad community is $787,749,385,859

THE DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE: PACE OF TRAVEL

  • 66% of digital nomads prefer to stay in a single place for 3 to 6 months, with six months being the sweet spot for most digital nomads.  80% of nomads prefer to stay in one place for 3 to 9 months

Six months was commonly reported as the perfect amount of time to be in a “good” nomading location before moving. 

Tourism boards, governments, accommodation providers, and coworking spaces would be well advised to facilitate a six-month stay to attract digital nomads, visas, short-term lease agreements, and discounts for a 6-month commitment.  Alternatively, three-month options with an easy three-month extension (offering the same benefits as a six-month commitment) would attract digital nomads more than any other option.

Additionally, many digital nomads strategically plan the length of their stay for the intended use of their time, which is aligned to the location they tend to choose.  Nomads tend to stay shorter periods for periods dedicated to pleasure and longer periods for periods dedicated to working, all falling within the cited 3-month to 9-month range.

  • 30% of digital nomads on the road have been traveling for two years or less
  • 50% of digital nomads on the road have traveled for four years or less
  • 30% of digital nomads have been traveling 10+ years

As nomads traveled longer, there was a trend of spending longer in a single location until they “aged out” of the digital nomad lifestyle.  Aging out generally took one of two paths: 1) becoming a long-term ex-pat in a single country or 2) returning to their home country.  Those that took option 1, staying as a long-term ex-pat, still generally traveled but for much shorter periods while using their “ex-pat home” as a base of travel.

THE DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE: WHERE DNs PREFER TO WORK

In this study, DNs fell into two groups regarding the preferred workplace.  Nomads either required white noise and background energy to stay focused or needed perfect silence for focus and meetings – work location preference correlated accordingly

  • Digital nomads prefer to work at their home or accommodation over anywhere else (23% of nomads surveyed)

Digital nomads stated they were generally willing to pay a substantial additional charge for a guesthouse, BnB, hostel, or hotel properly equipped for work (fast, reliable internet, comfortable chair, desk, plugs, work conducive atmosphere). However, the host should ensure the amenities are properly advertised and validated in objective customer reviews for the property.

In the absence of a sufficient workspace and fast, reliable wi-fi, this group of nomads then opted for either coworking space or a cafe

  • 21% of nomads prefer to primarily work at coworking spaces, while 14% preferred to work in cafes over any other option
  • 6% of DNs prefer to work in public libraries
  • INSIGHT: Regardless of whether nomads surveyed preferred home, coworking, a café, or outdoors, many cited needing to work in a space with other people at least once per week and at most once per day for mental and social health reasons.

WHAT DIGITAL NOMADS NEED IN A LOCATION

  • Cost of living and fast, accessible internet is the major factor in choosing a location to most nomads, reported as factor #1 by 56% of nomads

As geo-arbitrage is a significant factor in why many people become digital nomads, realizing this goal by picking cost-efficient cities that still deliver high quality of life is a major factor in choosing a location.  Equally as important as cost-effectiveness and quality of life, the internet is necessary for digital nomads to make their livelihood – and fluctuations in performance and quality of the internet connection can deteriorate the quality of life very quickly.  As such, most digital nomads equally prioritize fast, reliable internet, and cost-efficient city that delivers good quality of life.

  • Other factors reported as the most important factor of a location to nomads were
    • Safety (crime, environmental safety) by 15% of nomads surveyed
    • Access to outdoors and nature by 11% surveyed
    • DN friendly visa situation by 9%
    • Café/coworking culture by 3% surveyed

WHERE ARE DN’s NOW?

  • Mexico currently hosts the most digital nomads, with 14% of nomads reporting Mexico as their current location while 11% of nomads are in Thailand and 8% of nomads are in Portugal to represent the top 3 locations for DNs now.

Mexico, Thailand, and Portugal represent the three major DN hubs in Latin America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

FAVORITE LOCATIONS FOR DNs AROUND THE GLOBE

  • 9 of the top 10 preferred locations for digital nomads are coastal countries that are gateways to their region (major airport and intl. flights) and a gross national income per capita that is less than the average budget of a digital nomad

By analyzing this data, we can identify additional locations that fit this profile and predict 1) where DNs will likely proceed to when these top 10 locations have become over-saturated and 2) which countries can easily position themselves as potential DN hubs future.’

Top Digital Nomad Cities and Destinations | Digital Nomad Statistics | ABrotherAbroad.com

The top 10 rated places for digital nomads by digital nomads are as follows:

  1. Mexico
  2. Thailand
  3. Indonesia
  4. Colombia
  5. Vietnam
  6. Portugal
  7. Turkey
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Brazil
  10. Philippines

Portugal is the only location that misses one of the criteria (Portugal’s average income per person is $700 more per year than the average DN’s annual budget); however, the correlation is still strong. 

Other notable locations to be aware of that follow this trend are southern Italy, Nicaragua, South Africa, Croatia, Egypt, Cambodia, Ecuador, Spain, southern India, and Bulgaria.

  • Mexico was rated as the top location for digital nomads by 13% of nomads surveyed, followed by Thailand (12% of nomads surveyed), Indonesia (9% of nomads surveyed), Colombia (7% of nomads surveyed), and Vietnam (5% of nomads surveyed)
  • Portugal was rated the top digital nomad location in Western Europe
  • Turkey was rated the top digital nomad location in the Middle East
  • Croatia was rated the top location in the Balkans and Eastern Europe
  • South Africa was rated the top location in Africa for DNs
  • Southeast Asia was rated the most popular region for DNs with 34% of the votes, followed by Central America with 16% of the votes and South America with 13% of the votes

All of the top-rated countries per region follow the coastal country pattern, income per capita less than $22,500 annually (except Portugal), and gateway to a region of the world with cheap, reliable access to nearby countries that provide additional value.

DIGITAL NOMAD DATING: WHERE’S GOOD, WHERE’S BAD

  • Brazil was rated the top country globally for dating as a nomad
  • London was rated the single best city for dating as a digital nomad
  • Latin America and Western Europe tied as the best regions for dating as a nomad

Throughout the study, the top locations for “dating” (Brazil, London, and Latin America) fared well for short-term dating, long-term dating, dating locals, and dating other nomads/ex-pats. 

  • Polling on the worst country for dating was inconclusive. Here’s why…

There was no distinctive “worst country” because all countries, cities, and regions reported as the worst for dating had a roughly even number of votes.

OUR ANALYSIS – when it comes to dating as a nomad, your chances improve immensely in the top-rated locations for dating; however, it is very much possible to have a less than enjoyable dating experience anywhere on the globe.  Ultimately, don’t discount any location’s dating scene because it didn’t work for someone else – but – if the location’s dating scene worked for someone else, you might want to give it a try…and let us know how it goes…

DIGITAL NOMAD STRUGGLES AND PAIN POINTS: LONELINESS, FATIGUE, AND TAXES

  • Loneliness, missing family & friends, and lack connection is the #1 reason digital nomads return home
  • Traveler fatigue and long-term culture shock is the #2 reason why digital nomads return home

In the realm of struggles and pain points for digital nomads, the data had an odd dichotomy of loneliness and fatigue being a significant factor in nomads’ day-to-day life; however, it wasn’t often rated as the major struggle.  In contrast, loneliness and travel fatigue were cited as the two major factors in why successful digital nomads stop traveling and return to their home countries.

This data correlates to “aging out of the digital nomad community,” as is often seen when nomads either begin staying in a single place longer or returning home.  Ultimately each solution leads to a single point – more stability, more routine, and a more familiar path. 

Digital nomads should be aware of the two factors, loneliness, and traveler fatigue, when going into the lifestyle, taking proper steps (pacing travel, connection with home, self-monitoring, etc.) to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy during their travels.

  • The #1 struggle for nomads while traveling is retaining old clients/customers and finding new clients/customers
  • The remaining of the top 5 struggles for digital nomads on the road (in order from most to least important) were
  • Handling special tax issues as a digital nomad
  • Medical issues and medical insurance issues
  • Loneliness
  • Availability of items that are commonly available at home

These five pain points are the most significant in the lives of digital nomads and are valuable to 1) inform digital nomads of the major issues they can preemptively plan for now and 2) inform service providers to nomads of the major problems that DNs need solutions for an

HOW THE WORLD IS ADAPTING TO DIGITAL NOMADS: SPECIAL VISAS AND DN PROJECTS

  • 21 countries have created a digital nomad visa or have a program targeting digital nomads
  • 28 countries offer visas valid for six months or more that are digital nomad friendly
Digital Nomad Visas - Digital Nomad Statistics Charts | ABrotherAbroad.com

The following countries have recently established special visas or enacted visa changes to accommodate digital nomads.

Digital Nomad Visa CountriesLength
1. Antigua and Barbuda2 years
2. Barbados12 months
3. Bermuda12 months
4. Cayman Islands2 years
5. Costa Rica2 years
6. Croatia12 months
7. Czech Republic12 months
8. UAE (Dubai)12 months
9. Estonia12 months
10. Georgia12 months
11. Germany3 years
12. Iceland6 months
13. Mauritius12 months
14. Mexico12 months, renewable to 3 years
15. Norway2 years
16. Portugal12 months, renewable to 5 years
17. Spain12 months, renewable
18. Anguilla12 months
19. Argentina12 Months
20. Montserrat12 months
21. Aruba12 Months

And the following countries additionally offer visa with a six-month minimum, making them friendly to most digital nomads’ travel patterns

OTHER COUNTRIES WITH DIGITAL NOMAD FRIENDLY VISAS 
 22. Albania 12 months 
 23. Panama 6 months 
 24. Peru 6 months 
 25. Belize 6 months 
 26. United Kingdom 6 months 
 27. India 6 months per visit, 1 year validity 
28. Philippines 30 days extendable to 16 months

DN RETIREMENT PLANNING

  • 35% of nomads use real estate investment as their primary retirement vehicle
  • 23% of nomads are using stocks as their primary retirement vehicle in both private and tax-deferred/retirement accounts
  • 10% of nomads are investing in cryptocurrency as their primary retirement investment vehicle
  • 10% of nomads cite FIRE in the retirement planning strategy and intend to retire early
  • 3% of nomads keep only cash (no other investments)
  • 4% of nomads plan on working until they die and have no retirement plan or investments

Though digital nomads generally live on the edge of experimentation and innovation, diversification in their retirement portfolio is a point for potential improvement.  Additionally, with the number of digital nomads that invest in real estate, services dedicated to digital nomad-owned real estate are great opportunities.

ABOUT THIS STUDY


WE CONDUCTED THIS STUDY TO INFORM ASPIRING DIGITAL NOMADS, SERVICE PROVIDERS TO DIGITAL NOMADS, AND TOURISM BOARDS ON THE DN LIFESTYLE

THE BENEFIT OF DIGITAL NOMADS AND THIS STUDY TO TOURISM BOARDS AND GOVERNMENTS:

The global digital nomad’s economic value is roughly $787,000,000,000 annually and a potential influx of cash and investment from abroad in addition to possible skill exchanges and employment of local workers. This investment and exchange can happen at little to no expense to the hosting country, as most digital nomads carry their own medical insurance and social services.  At present, 21 countries have established special visas for digital nomads. In this study, we share the economic value digital nomads bring and share what digital nomads seek in a location to empower host countries to attract digital nomads and keep them returning

TAKEAWAYS FOR ASPIRING DIGITAL NOMADS: STARTING THE DIGITAL NOMAD JOURNEY CAN HAPPEN IN ANY STAGE OF LIFE

We discovered that the average age of digital nomads is 40 years old, much older than depicted in popular culture and expected by most people we surveyed.  This empowering fact is one of many mean aspiring nomads can become nomads at any age or stage in life successfully.  In this study, you’ll learn the most common and uncommon professions of digital nomads, their employment statuses, and insights into the lifestyles of successful digital nomads to start your journey empowered with accurate facts.

FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS TO DIGITAL NOMADS: AIRBNB HOSTS, COWORKING SPACES, INSURANCE PROVIDERS, AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPERS

The average digital nomad changes their environment frequently but prefers consistency and quality in the services and products they receive.  Given that the average digital nomad prefers to stay in one place 3 to 9 months and prefer stability, attracting digital nomads as customers can have solid economic value for your business. 

From understanding when DNs go to coworking spaces and why, to understand the highest priorities they look for in accommodation, to understand their struggles and existing problems that need to be solved, this study shares the insights, you need to attract and keep DNs as customers.


  • This study is the first research study performed on digital nomads conducted by digital nomads
  • The primary goal of this study is to share information that leads to the enhancement of infrastructure for digital nomads and relationships between DNs and host countries in a way that is mutually beneficial

NOTE ON FINDINGS IN THIS STUDY LABELED AS “INSIGHTS”

Throughout this study, many findings are labeled as “insights.” These observations were not based wholly on a statistically significant number (minimum 100) of data points. Instead, qualitative analysis gleaned from trends in long format answers that correlate and confirm the quantitative analysis in this study. 

In short, these are insights gleaned from fewer responses of very high quality and analyzed leveraging our own experience as digital nomads.  Though the insights are not enough to make full decisions, we believe they are good foundations for asking the next pertinent question to understand digital nomads better.

We understand that these “insights” are not equal to the data derived from quantitative analysis but are still valid observations that can inform your research processes and will inform our own quantitative analysis in the next study.

Interested in sharing your perspective as a digital nomad?

Click here to take our survey and share your experience and background as a digital nomad!

Analytical support sources for this study

  • Comparative country population and income data derived from Worldometer.info
  • US digital nomad data derived from MBO Partners State of Independence in America 2020 for comparative analysis purposes
  • Gross National Income Data sourced from WorldBank.org

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Carlos is an adventure traveler, Crossfit Trainer, and Strength & Conditioning Coach dedicated to helping others travel better to far off destinations for pure adventure experiences, and stay fit and adventure-ready along the way. Click here to learn more about Carlos's story.