Still, a redistribution of sought-after knowledge workers beyond the biggest five to 10 cities will go a long way in lifting up regions that have been left behind. It could also help reverse a decade-long brain drain from Heartland region cities like Kansas City and St. Louis, as well as post-industrial cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit.
“Even if 10-15% of Big Tech employment begins to occur elsewhere, I do think it will have at minimum an incremental effect that will potentially tamp down some of the pressures in coastal superstars and benefit the next echelon of places,” said Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution.
If the beneficiaries of remote work expand to the next top 25 places, “that would be extremely helpful to other smaller places if cities in their state were truly vibrant,” Muro said. “There’s a cascading benefit.”