Lifestyles of the un-rich and un-famous

On a list derived from 2005 census data, Austin stands number four in the percentage of home-based workers: 5%, behind San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland (“Home-Office Politics,” NYT 11/4/07, byline Matt Bai). How many are graphic designers, Web-page designers, and independent contractors of all kinds? Austin is rife with freelancers who will fight to the death over a non-paying nonprofit or charity gig just to be able to put it on their resumes. Does the figure include all the “consultants,” musicians, and skilled tradespeople who work from home? I was told yesterday that, at a voir dire session to select jurors for a civil trial, one of the questions was “Have you ever worked at a restaurant?” and more than half the people there raised their hands. What would have been the percentage if cabdriver and bartender had been added to waitstaff and kitchen staff? By the way, the figure cited as the national average for home-based workers is 3.6%.

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