Home-Based Workers Mostly Men; Support Local Economies

According to a survey of nearly 900 home-based workers, the typical home-worker profile is male (59%), 44 years old, married, has some education beyond high school, and has been involved in work at home for nearly a decade. "The traditional view is that home-based workers are dominated by home knitters and quilt-makers who fit their work around child-care and household responsibilities," says Kathryn Stafford, associate professor of consumer sciences at Ohio State University's College of Human Ecology. Stafford, along with colleagues from Purdue University and Montana State University, conducted the study and published the results in Economic Development Quarterly. The study was supported by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Cooperative States Research Service. The study was based on home-based workers from nine states -- Hawaii, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Utah, and Vermont -- who were over 18 years old, worked at home at least one day a week, and did not work in another office or work site. About 75% were home-based business owners. Farmers were excluded from the survey. Other findings suggest that home-based work has a strong economic impact. Indeed, the total income generated by home-based businesses in the nine states was $19.7 billion a year (about 3% of total personal income generated.) The study also found that home-based businesses help local economies. Nearly 90% of business owners bought supplies for their businesses within their state. Also, 88% of the home-business owners sell most of their products or services within their state or within an hour's drive of their homes.

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