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16 Statistics for the Freelance Economy

16 Statistics for the Freelance Economy

The freelance economy is heating up. People like those of us here on HR Lancers love the flexibility of freelance life and how it enhances our lives and work-life balance.

A number of reports and studies regarding the freelance world, AKA the ‘gig economy’ have been published lately so we  wanted to summarize the key statistics found in the data.

  1. 50%: of the workforce will be comprised of gig workers by 2028. Source:
  2. The 57 million Americans who freelanced this year represent 35% of the U.S. workforce and an increase of 4 million freelancers since 2014. SOURCE: Upwork
  3. 16 Million: number of Americans who consider themselves self-employed as of July 2019. Source:
  4. 1 in 6 enterprise workers are actually gig workers paid as either 1099-MISC (1099-M) workers or short-term W-2 employees working one to six months. Source: ADP
  5. 56 million people are now freelancing,... an increase of 3.7 million over the past 5 years. Source: Freelance Union
  6. The freelance workforce is overall very young, with nearly 70 percent of freelancers surveyed being under the age of 35, and 21 percent are under the age of 25. SOURCE: Payoneer
  7. The worldwide average hourly rate charged by freelancers is $21, higher than the $19 average rate reported in Payoneer’s 2018 survey and significantly higher than the average salaries in many of the countries surveyed. SOURCE: Payoneer
  8. Female freelancers earn on average 84 percent of men’s earnings across all fields. SOURCE: Payoneer
  9. 43%: The total proportion of the American workforce that’s expected to move to remote- and freelance-based employment as of 2020 as reported by Innovation Enterprise Ltd.
  10. The biggest users of contingent workers are organizations operations/production/services division (37%) and the IT departments (32%) SOURCE: EY
  11. According to a study conducted by Randstad USA, 60% of the population will be freelancing within the next 10 years.
  12. For the first time, as many freelancers said they view this way of working as a long-term career choice as they do a temporary way to make money. In addition, the share of those who freelance full time increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% this year. SOURCE: Upwork
  13. Skilled services are the most common type of freelance work, with 45% of freelancers providing skills such as programming, marketing, IT and business consulting. SOURCE: Upwork 
  14. Freelancers contribute nearly $1 trillion in freelancing income to the economy, or nearly 5% of U.S. GDP. SOURCE: Upwork
  15. Nearly two-thirds of HR professionals indicate the gig economy is impacting hiring and staffing practices. A majority (64%) are experiencing some sort of change because of gig economy trends. SOURCE:
  16. There are up to 15.5 million Americans – 10 percent of the total U.S. labor force – who use contingent or alternative work as their primary source of income. SOURCE: ICIMS

It’s a freelance nation, and we’re just living it!