Coworking Spaces Are Concentrated In The West Coast’s Most Expensive Cities

By Kurt Birkenhagen · November 14, 2017

Coworking as a workplace arrangement is growing worldwide. According to recent studies, more than 1.2 million people worldwide have worked in a coworking space. By 2020, 22 million Americans are projected to work in coworking spaces in the United States alone.

As contract work and remote work have become increasingly common, coworking has grown. Startups and small businesses benefit from using coworking spaces instead of traditional offices because coworking cuts costs per employee. People in coworking spaces use conference calling and online meeting tools to connect with clients and customers around the world, so we wanted to know: where is coworking growing the most and why?

For this study, we used publicly available data from Yelp and from U.S. government agencies to measure the number of coworking spaces in U.S.’s largest cities. We looked at where coworking is concentrated and where it might grow. We found that coworking spaces are most common in cities that have high rents and those considered technology hubs.

Coworking Is Booming On The West Coast

Cities in the western U.S. have the most coworking spaces per 100,000 people. Only one of the top 10, Washington, D.C., and just six of the top 20 are in the Eastern time zone.

Coworking is clustered in highly developed areas. California, the Northeast Corridor and the Texas Triangle have the highest density of coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are also abundant in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West.

The Higher Rent Is, The More Coworking Spaces There Are

Coworking spaces are concentrated in cities with high rent, like the Bay Area, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C. There are higher concentrations of shared office spaces in the West’s expensive cities, which are clustered near the top of the chart.

Sarah Studer, the business manager at Impact Hub Seattle, a coworking space, suggests that the influx of new people without social networks into those rapidly growing, rent-burdened cities is one reason why coworking is a popular option.

“If your partner gets a job in a new city, and you both decide to move, you need to go somewhere to form relationships that will help you get a job,” Studer says. “Coworking spaces are where you can start relationships that are authentic and meaningful.”

Studer says that coworking spaces address that problem and are more appealing to people who need to network than other spaces.

“Working from home is isolating. Working in coffee shops is expensive, and you’re not always welcome to stay for six hours. When you join a coworking space, you start to meet people super fast.”

Coworking Has Plenty Of Room For Growth

The cities with the lowest ratio of coworking spaces to small businesses are most likely to experience growth in the coworking field. Small businesses can especially benefit from using coworking spaces.

“As you’re getting off the ground, most businesses can’t afford to jump into a five-year commercial lease,” says Studer. “If you’re making a switch to your passion project, it’s a lot smarter to start small and keep overhead down.”

San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Minneapolis-St. Paul are all good candidates for additional coworking capacity.

New York City may also soon see an increase in coworking spaces. The New York metro area has a lower ratio of coworking spaces to small businesses. It has a lower density of coworking spaces than high-rent cities in its peer group on the West Coast, like San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s primed to have coworking growth.

Who we are

Vast Conference is a leading provider of conference calling and remote online meeting solutions. We cater to the small businesses and far-flung teams that benefit the most from coworking.


Which Cities Have The Highest Concentration Of Coworking Spaces? (Coworking Spaces Per 100,000 People): We used Yelp to find the number of “shared office spaces” in each metropolitan area. Using 2016 U.S. Census data, we calculated the number of coworking spaces per 100,000 residents. We then created bubbles to represent each city’s ratio. The larger the bubble, the higher the ratio.

Does High Rent = More Coworking? (Median Rent for a 2-Bedroom Apt. vs. Coworking Spaces Per 100,000 People): Using the 50th percentile rent estimate for a two-bedroom apartment for metropolitan areas from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, we charted the correlation of high rent to the ratio of coworking spaces.

Where Is Coworking Likely To Grow Next? (Coworking Spaces Per 1000 Firms With Less Than 5 Employees): Using firm size data for metropolitan areas from the Small Business Administration and the number of “shared office spaces” listed by Yelp, we calculated the number of coworking spaces per 1000 firms with less than 5 employees. We then ranked cities from fewest to most coworking spaces per 1000 firms with less than 5 employees.


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