These cities will pay you to move there

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
By:
Author picture
Edited by:
a man working on a laptop

In an era defined by the freedom and flexibility of remote work, the prospect of relocating for professional pursuits has taken on new dimensions. Across the United States, a fascinating trend is emerging: Many cities are actively incentivizing remote workers to move to their location. According to Pew Research Center, about 22 million employed adults in the U.S. work from home all the time, making them a major demographic force. Cities recognize that attracting these workers could benefit local businesses, schools and culture.

Remote workers are increasingly drawn to the prospect of setting up shop in new cities, especially given the prevalence of relocation packages that soften the costs of hiring a moving company and finding a new home. Below, we highlight the groundbreaking cities, regions and states in the U.S. that are incentivizing remote workers to relocate and revitalize their local economies.


Key insights

Multiple cities in the U.S. are offering compensation to relocate in 2024.

Jump to insight

With a population of 413,066, Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the largest city that will pay you to move there.

Jump to insight

West Virginia pays remote workers the most to relocate there, with a maximum compensation package of $20,000.

Jump to insight

Some states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, are home to several cities offering incentives to remote workers.

Jump to insight

Which U.S. cities will pay you to move there?

An increasing number of U.S. cities have launched relocation incentive programs aimed at attracting remote workers. These initiatives offer financial incentives to individuals willing to move and work remotely from their locations. Below, we explore the cities across the country that offer cash compensation, providing an overview of each city's draw and the benefits of their respective programs.

Topeka, Kansas

  • Maximum compensation: $15,000
  • Where to apply: Choose Topeka
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $675
  • Population: 126,587

Topeka's relocation incentive program is called Choose Topeka. It is led by the GO Topeka organization and seeks to foster economic success for companies and citizens in the Topeka area. The program aims to capitalize on the community’s unique strengths through various economic development programs.

One key aspect of the program is that it’s not just for remote workers; it provides an opportunity for all professionals to relocate to Topeka and Shawnee County while receiving financial incentives. Participants can receive up to $15,000 in funds to support their relocation.

GO Topeka collaborates with Shawnee County employers to identify and select talented individuals willing to make Topeka their new home. There are added incentives for employers, too: In order to encourage long-term employee retention, GO Topeka will reimburse employers with a 50% match of the total qualified relocation incentive once their newly relocated employees have been with them for one year.

Noblesville, Indiana

  • Maximum compensation: $15,000
  • Where to apply: Make My Move
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,350
  • Population: 69,604

Noblesville, Indiana, presents an excellent opportunity for remote workers seeking the perfect blend of small-town charm and big-city convenience. As the county seat of Hamilton County, just north of Indianapolis, Noblesville offers proximity to urban amenities while maintaining a quaint atmosphere.

Through a partnership with Make My Move, the city has rolled out a robust relocation incentive program to attract talent to its community. Remote workers who choose to make Noblesville their home can earn a $5,000 relocation grant and an array of added perks, including a one-year membership to COhatch Noblesville coworking space and VIP concert experiences at the Ruoff Music Center. With a value of $15,000, this comprehensive package reflects Noblesville's commitment to fostering a welcoming environment for new residents.

Mattoon, Illinois

  • Maximum compensation: $11,707
  • Where to apply: Make My Move (not currently accepting new applications)
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $599
  • Population: 16,870

Mattoon is an inviting destination for remote workers, especially those with families. According to Move to Mattoon, the city is known for its exceptional educational offerings and vibrant community spirit. As a leader in regional education, Mattoon prides itself on innovative, individualized curriculums that prepare students for success in an ever-changing world.

In partnership with Make My Move, Move to Mattoon extends a comprehensive relocation incentive package. Prospective residents can benefit from up to $5,000 in cash for moving expenses, $2,555 in local business gift cards and a $500 restaurant voucher, alongside complimentary access to coworking spaces, YMCA facilities, internet services and storage solutions. With its blend of educational excellence, community celebrations like Bagelfest and relocation support, Mattoon beckons remote workers seeking a fulfilling lifestyle in the heart of Illinois.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Maximum compensation: $10,000
  • Where to apply: Tulsa Remote
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $899
  • Population: 413,066

Tulsa's remote worker relocation incentive program, Tulsa Remote, has already attracted over 3,000 remote workers to the city. This initiative is backed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which provides financial incentives to renters and buyers alike. Remote workers who relocate to Tulsa and rent receive $10,000 through monthly disbursements. Buyers are able to receive the same amount either through monthly payments or as a lump sum.

Tulsa offers more than just financial benefits for remote workers. The city is known for fishing and boating on Keystone Lake, as well as cultural attractions like the Bob Dylan Center and Cain’s Ballroom. Tulsa Remote provides a variety of enrichment activities, such as free gym memberships and fitness classes, alongside professional opportunities like networking events. Another perk of the Tulsa Remote program is its 36-month free membership to the 36 Degrees North coworking space for remote workers who enjoy the occasional visit to an office environment.

The Shoals, Alabama

  • Maximum compensation: $10,000
  • Where to apply: Remote Shoals
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $950
  • Population: 155,175

The Shoals encompasses the cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and Sheffield, as well as areas in Lauderdale and Colbert counties in northwestern Alabama. Through the Remote Shoals initiative, eligible individuals relocating to this picturesque region can receive a $10,000 cash incentive, disbursed in installments over a year. The Shoals offers a relatively low cost of living compared with other parts of the U.S., enhancing its appeal to those seeking a balanced lifestyle.

Moreover, beyond its scenic landscapes and lush greenery, The Shoals boasts a legendary musical heritage, anchored by the iconic FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where music legends like Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin recorded some of their most popular albums. This blend of natural beauty and cultural richness makes The Shoals an attractive destination for remote workers seeking professional opportunities and a vibrant community atmosphere.

Which U.S. states will pay you to move there?

When examining relocation incentives, states that offer comprehensive packages across multiple cities stand out. States such as West Virginia illustrate this approach by implementing statewide relocation incentives instead of confining them to just one or two cities. Opting for statewide programs provides a broad array of choices and flexibility for prospective movers.

West Virginia

  • Maximum compensation: $20,000
  • Where to apply: Ascend West Virginia
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $750
  • Population: 1,793,716

West Virginia is home to one of the most generous relocation incentive programs in the United States: Ascend West Virginia. This initiative, focused on communities like the Greenbrier Valley, Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle, offers newcomers up to $10,000 in their first year and an additional $2,000 in the second year, totaling a package valued at $20,000.

Beyond cash incentives, participants may enjoy perks such as free outdoor gear, professional development opportunities and access to coworking spaces. West Virginia, known for its deep woods and scenic mountains, is the third-most-forested state in the U.S., offering unparalleled access to nature. With its largest city, Charleston, boasting a population of just 48,864, workers moving to West Virginia can enjoy the serenity of a low-population state after taking advantage of a funded cross-country move.

Kentucky

  • Maximum compensation: $8,800
  • Where to apply: Make My Move
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $925
  • Population: 4,505,836

Kentucky's remote worker incentive programs are available across several communities, offering a variety of enticing benefits available via Make My Move. In Frankfort, the capital city, newcomers can receive a total incentive package of $6,150, including $5,000 in cash, unique experiences like a progressive dinner with downtown residents and a Buffalo Trace Distillery tour. Mayfield, still recovering from a devastating tornado, extends a generous package totaling $8,800, featuring cash incentives, discounted child care and memberships to various local organizations. Paducah also offers up to $2,500 in relocation reimbursement and other financial incentives.

Remote workers are also welcome to move anywhere in the Eastern Kentucky region. The area has lush forests and scenic attractions like the Red River Gorge, and it offers $5,000 in cash and tailored welcome packages and bonuses for spouses working in education or health care. These initiatives reflect a statewide effort to attract skilled professionals and foster community growth amid shifting economic landscapes.

What to know before moving for a remote job

Before relocating for a remote job, it's important to learn about your new area’s local culture and lifestyle. Understanding the cultural fabric can significantly impact your personal and professional life. From social norms to civic dynamics, cultural differences can influence your integration into a new community and overall satisfaction with the move.

Additionally, consider the key practical questions you’ll face once you’ve moved. Investigate whether your professional certifications and licenses will transfer seamlessly and allow you to transition into your new role smoothly. You will also want to explore health care options and the accessibility of quality medical services in the area, as well as any state or local taxes that may affect your financial planning.

Addressing these aspects beforehand can help you better prepare for the nuances of your new environment and ensure a successful relocation for your remote career.

Q&A: Justin Harlan on navigating the Tulsa Remote application process

Moving to a new city will be a different experience for everyone based on their circumstances and the place they’re moving to. We interviewed Justin Harlan, managing director of Tulsa Remote, to gauge his experience with helping remote workers move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, through his company’s incentive program.

Q: Do you have any tips to help remote workers navigate the Tulsa Remote application process?

A: Tulsa Remote has a wealth of resources and benefits that we provide our members – such as a coworking space and community events – and we love seeing Tulsa Remoters make use of them! Naturally, we tend to gravitate toward individuals whose needs match well with our offerings – so we’d encourage remote workers to use the application process to share how they plan to maximize their participation in the Tulsa Remote program.

Additionally, we like to treat the interview process like a two-way discussion. Applicants invited to interview should utilize the interview as an opportunity to get their questions answered. As much as we get to learn about the applicant and how they are factoring Tulsa into their lives, the applicant can learn about us.

Q: What are the key considerations individuals should keep in mind before relocating with their remote job?

A: I can’t emphasize enough that relocating is a huge life decision – both professionally and personally – that should be carefully thought through. Before making the leap, find ways to get to know the city and community you may soon call home! Ways include immersing yourself in the community’s culture via a weekend trip, trying local restaurants to get a taste of the city, and more

Q: Beyond compensation, why are programs like Tulsa Remote beneficial for remote workers?

A: Programs like Tulsa Remote offer a community like no other, as like-minded yet diverse knowledge workers come together to find synergies. When remote workers move to Tulsa, they aren’t just changing zip codes but entering a new family-like community. We offer one-on-one support, have dozens of monthly gatherings, and the tight-knit nature of Tulsa enables knowledge sharing on everything from simple restaurant recommendations to startup advice. In fact, we found that 72% of Tulsa Remote members have found a sense of belonging by their 11th month in Tulsa, and it’s no surprise that 74% of those who have completed their program year since 2019 are still in Tulsa today.


Article sources

ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

  1. Zillow, “Rental Market Trends.” Accessed May 9, 2024.
  2. United States Census Bureau, “QuickFacts.” Accessed May 9, 2024.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “Resident Population in Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL (MSA).” Accessed May 9, 2024.
Did you find this article helpful? |
Share this article