A freelancer is a person that doesn’t commit to a single employer and takes their chances working directly for their clients. And while freelancing statistics show that their way of working can be quite profitable, it turns out that financial gain is not the main reason most people choose to freelance.
The prospect of making your own hours and being able to work from anywhere in the world seems to be what these independent workers are after. But how much do they actually earn, what do they do, how do they find their clients, and most importantly, who are they? Check out the statistics below and find interesting insights into this fascinating group of people.
Top 10 Freelancing Statistics
- The US freelancing market accounts for 31% of the global freelancing market.
- There are at least 59 million Americans who freelance.
- 33% of freelancers offer services for jobs of creative nature.
- The median freelancer rate is $20 per hour.
- Freelancer programmers charge an average hourly rate between $60 and $70.
- 65% of freelancers say they earn more now than when they used to have an employer.
- 70% of freelancers work on two to four projects simultaneously.
- Of all Americans who freelance, only 37% do it on a daily basis.
- 52.3% of all freelancers in the USA are female.
- 50% of all Gen Zers in the USA do freelance work.
General Freelance Industry Statistics
There are at least 59 million Americans who freelance.
According to the latest findings, 59 million Americans were freelancing in 2020. This figure represents 36% of the US workforce. Collectively, they earned $1.2 trillion by freelancing, while more recent data indicates that this number grew to $1.3 trillion in 2021.
Additionally, nine out of ten freelancers believe that the best days of freelancing are yet to come, and 56% of freelancers say they are likely to continue freelancing in the future.
(Edelman Intelligence, Upwork)
The US freelancing market accounts for 31% of the global freelancing market.
The global freelancing market size was valued at $3.8 trillion in 2020, and freelancers from the US contributed close to one-third of its value. Future forecasts predict rapid growth of the global freelancing market and expect it to reach $12 trillion by 2028, with a CAGR of 15.02%.
Moreover, the most recent data reveals that two-thirds, or 67%, of the currently active freelancers started freelancing in the past three years, while only 33% have been freelancing for longer than that.
(Verified Market Research, Fiverr)
70% of freelancers work on two to four projects simultaneously.
Freelancer statistics show that only 13% work on a single project, an equal share of 13% of freelancers work on five to nine projects, and just 4% of freelancers work on more than ten projects simultaneously.
Moreover, 61% of freelancers sell two or three different skills or work functions. More than one-third, or 34%, offer services for more than three, and just 5% work a single work function and offer one specific skill to their clients.
Of all Americans who freelance, only 37% do it on a daily basis.
Freelancing stats reveal that 32% of them do a freelance job once a week, 11% freelance every couple of weeks, 10% do it once a month, and 10% do it even less frequently than that.
Additionally, the largest percentage of freelancers in the US, or 36%, are diversified workers, 32% are independent contractors, and 21% are moonlighters. Temporary workers only account for 5%, and freelance business owners for 6% of the total number of freelancers in the USA.
Personal growth is the main reason they start to freelance, cited by 40% of freelancers.
A recent survey on the state of freelancing reveals that the financial upside is not among the main reasons why freelancers choose to freelance, and only 7% of them cite it as such. In addition, 18% of freelancers say they started working this way because they were laid off, and 27% say they did it because of the flexibility it provides.
Data further reveals that 87% of freelancers cite having a flexible schedule as an important personal and career objective to them. Finally, 68% of freelancers say their quality of life has improved since becoming self-employed.
US Freelance Workforce Demographics
50% of all Gen Zers in the USA do freelance work.
However, because there are the fewest working-age people in this generation, they only account for 9% of the US freelancing workforce. Furthermore, 44% of American Millennials are freelancers, and they account for the largest portion, or 37%, of the US freelancing workforce.
Stats also reveal that 30% of Gen Xers and 26% of Baby Boomers freelance, accounting for 30% and 24% of the total number of freelancers in the USA.
52.3% of all freelancers in the USA are female.
The latest freelancer statistics show that women account for the bigger half of the US freelancing workforce, even though they are the smaller half of the entire workforce in America. Moreover, White Americans account for 76%, Hispanic or Latino freelancers for 10%, Asian Americans for 8%, and African-Americans for 4% of the freelancing workforce in the USA.
51% of all postgraduates in the US say they do freelance work.
Even though more than half of post-grad Americans say they freelance, they only account for 15% of the total number of freelancers in the USA. Furthermore, freelancing stats show that an equal share of 35% of Americans with bachelor’s degrees and associate’s degrees say they take part in freelancing, accounting for 21% and 27% of the US freelancing workforce.
Finally, less than one-third, or 31%, of Americans with a high school degree or less say they freelance, but they account for the largest portion of the freelancing workforce, with 37%.
(Upwork, Edelman Intelligence)
77% of arts and design workers in the US freelance.
Freelance statistics show that marketing professionals are next in line, with a share of 58%, while 53% of the people who work computer and mathematics-related jobs say they do freelance work.
Furthermore, more than half, or 52%, of US construction workers freelance, as do 48% of the personal care and wellness service workers. Professionals from transportation and finance are slightly less likely to freelance, with shares of only 39% and 37% of them saying that they do.
Only 19% of administrative support and office work employees in the US freelance.
Freelance stats show that the above group of workers are the least likely to do a freelancing job, followed by production and manufacturing workers, 20% of which say they freelance. Furthermore, only 24% of healthcare workers and 25% of food preparation and service workers do freelance work.
Healthcare support workers are slightly more likely to freelance, with a share of 28%, while the percentage of management professionals who freelance is 29%. Finally, data reveals that 31% of workers in the education sector and 33% of sales professionals freelance.
Freelancer Market Statistics
33% of freelancers offer services for jobs of creative nature.
Another 21% of freelance workers offer professional consulting services, 17% provide services in the fields of writing, journalism, and content, and 15% offer technology and web development services. The collective share of all freelancers that provide services that don’t fall in any of the above four categories is only 14%.
The median freelancer rate is $20 per hour.
Freelance stats reveal that the median hourly rate jumps to $25 for skilled freelancers. Moreover, only 32% of freelancers charge per hour, while the largest portion, or 45%, charge a fixed price. Lastly, 23% of freelancers in the US take a combined approach and don’t mind charging both ways.
Freelance programmers charge an average hourly rate between $60 and $70.
Among the most popular freelancer professionals, programmers charge some of the more expensive rates and earn $120,000 yearly, on average. In comparison, freelance writer statistics show that writers charge between $30 and $40 per hour and earn an average of $42,000 per year.
Freelance data analysts and mobile developers charge similar rates of between $55 to $65 per hour, earning annual salaries of $100,000. Finally, freelance transcribers charge the lowest hourly rates of between $20 and $25 on average and, as a result, have some of the lowest freelancer earnings of $32,000 per year.
65% of freelancers say they earn more now than when they used to have an employer.
Freelance statistics also show that 10% of freelancers are earning about the same as before, while only one-quarter, or 25%, are earning less now that they turned to freelancing.
Among those who earn more, 34% started earning more immediately after becoming freelancers. Another 23% say it took them under six months to start earning more, 18% say between six months and a year, 9% say between one year and two years, and it took 16% of freelancers between one and two years to start making more money by freelancing than having a day job.
Only 8% of freelancers are concerned about the future of freelancing because of AI and job automation.
The vast majority, or 58%, are not concerned at all, while 34% say they are uncertain. Another 44% of freelancers say they have not gotten paid for an invoice, and 47% of them believe that this happened to them because companies don’t take freelancers seriously.
In addition, 35% blame the vague and inadequate contracts they were given, and 11% believe companies are unethical. Lastly, more than nine out of ten, or 91%, of freelancers market themselves by word of mouth or referrals, while 48% through organic traffic on their website or portfolio.