45 Eye-popping Stats About the Gig Economy


It’s no secret that employment in the gig economy is growing even faster than traditional payroll employment. With more than one third of the U.S. officially part of the freelance gig economy (and growing), people of all ages and ethnicities are yearning for a work-life balance that wages more freedom. To better understand the independent workforce and what motivates the people who participate in it, we uncovered 45 eye-popping stats.

    1. Since 2000, 1099s have gone up 22%, while the traditional W-2 forms have stagnated.
    2. Between 2003 and 2013, all industry sectors experienced growth in non-employer businesses.
    3. 24% of Americans report earning money from the digital ‘platform economy’ in the past year. (Tweet This Stat)
    4. Nearly one-in-ten Americans (8%) have earned money in the last year using digital platforms to take on a job or task.
    5. Nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) have earned money in the last year by selling something online.
    6. 68% of Americans feel that these jobs are good options for people who want a flexible work schedule.
    7. 54% of older adults don’t want to work full time any more.
    8. 23% of those who utilize digital “gig” platforms for work are students.
    9. 26% of gig platform users consider themselves to be employees of the services they use to find work.
    10. The number one motivation, cited by 42% of respondents, was fun, or because the work gives them something to do in their spare time.
    11. 37% mentioned they were helping to fill in gaps in their other sources of income.
    12. 30% mentioned they needed ways to earn money that could fit into the other demands on their schedule.
    13. Around one-in-five (19%) people say that they’re also motivated by a desire to gain work experience.
    14. 17% say that there’s a lack of other jobs in their area.
    15. 15% cited that they need to control their own schedule due to other obligations.
    16. 53 million Americans — 34 percent of the U.S. workforce — are working as freelancers.
      1. Independent Contractors (40%) — 21.1 million
      2. Moonlighters (27%) — 14.3 million
      3. Diversified workers (18%) –- 9.3 million
      4. Temporary Workers (10%) — 5.5 million
      5. Freelance Business Owners (5%) – 2.8 million
    1. The gig workforce is adding $715 billion annually to the economy through their freelance work. (Tweet This Stat)
    2. One-in-three (32%) freelancers said they have seen demand for their services increase in the past year.
    3. Nearly half (43%) of freelancers said they expect their income to increase in the coming year.
    4. Nearly eight-in-ten (77%) freelancers said they make the same or more money than they did before they started freelancing. (Tweet This Stat)
    5. More than four-in-ten (42%) said they already make more than before they started freelancing.
    6. More than one-in-three (36%) said they’ve thought about quitting to freelance full-time.
    7. Among traditional workers, 80% would be willing to do additional work outside of their primary job if it was available and enabled them to make more money.
    8. The two most common reasons for going freelance were “to earn extra money” (68%) and to “have flexibility in [their] schedule”(42%).
    9. More than half (53%) began freelancing by choice, not necessity.
    10. Nearly seven in ten (65%) freelancers said the internet has made it easier to find freelance work.
    11. Four in ten (42%) have done an online freelance project, meaning they found and completed the gig entirely online.
    12. 31% of freelancers said they can find a gig online in less than 24 hours. (Tweet This Stat)
    13. 69% said social networking has “drastically changed the dynamics of networking.”
    14. Nearly eight in ten (77%) freelancers said the best days of the freelance job market are still ahead.
    15. 65% said freelancing is more respected than it was three years ago.
    16. Nearly 54 million Americans participated in some form of independent work in 2015. (Tweet This Stat)
    17. That’s more than 33 percent of the entire U.S. workforce and is an increase of 700,000 workers over the previous year.
    18. Some researchers project that half of the working U.S. population will move into the gig economy within the next five years.
    19. More than one-third of Millennials are independent workers.
    20. In 2015, Millennials became the largest demographic age group in the workforce. (Tweet This Stat)
    21. 40% prefer to get paid via direct deposit versus other forms (e.g., check, PayPal).
    22. More people than ever are choosing to freelance, up to 55 million this year, or 35% of the United States.
    23. Nearly 3-in-10 American workers earn some form of income through independent work and gig opportunities like Uber and Airbnb. (Tweet This Stat)
    24. 63% of those interviewed in the report say marketing is the most important expense to grow their business.

After looking at all of these stats, one thing is evident: millions of people around the world are opting for great work independence and it could have many tangible economic benefits. Whether it’s raising the labor-force participation or providing opportunities for the unemployed, consumers and organizations could benefit from the greater availability of gig services. Through seamless coordinations and enabling trust, gig-driven digital platforms can exemplify all of these benefits.
1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregoryferenstein/2015/12/12/the-gig-economy-appears-to-be-growing-heres-why/#d9bb985288bf
2. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/article/what-is-the-gig-economy.htm#pros-and-cons-of-gig-work
3. http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/17/gig-work-online-selling-and-home-sharing/
4. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/18/why-join-the-gig-economy-for-many-the-answer-is-for-fun/
5. http://fu-web-storage-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/content/filer_public/c2/06/c2065a8a-7f00-46db-915a-2122965df7d9/fu_freelancinginamericareport_v3-rgb.pdf
6. https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/07/20-surprising-stats-freelance-economy.html
7. https://www.fastcompany.com/3066905/the-future-of-work/how-the-gig-economy-will-change-in-2017
8. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-10-11/1-in-3-workers-employed-in-gig-economy-but-not-all-by-choice


  1. Alex Bennett

    Hi Julia,
    Your in depth Gig economy research is amazing and useful to us.
    Check out our concept focusing on the DIY Gig-economy millenial needs.
    How can we stay up to date on your writing?

    • Good Morning Alex,
      Thank you for your feedback, I am glad that you found my piece useful! Please subscribe to our blog and stay updated on everything gig-wise. Thanks!

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