As the world moves further into the digital age, we see new trends popping up from every corner. One of the most popular ones threatening to take over the business industry is freelancing. According to freelance statistics, the number of freelancers keeps growing as more and more people discover how convenient it is to control their workload without the usual nine-to-five grind.
We went into great detail during our research and came up with some interesting facts. Read on to learn about the most relevant statistics on this ever-evolving industry, from the freelance community growth to the salaries and job satisfaction.
Notable Freelance Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- 35% of the general workforce in the US belongs to the freelance community.
- 35.5% of the entire freelance community is located in Europe.
- 20–30% of the young population in Europe and the US chooses freelance over traditional work.
- 51% of the freelancers in the US say no amount of money would make them accept a traditional job.
- 75% of arts & design workers are freelancers.
- Freelancer men earn $28/hour, while women’s hourly rates are around $23.
- In 2019, freelancers in the US contributed $1 trillion to the country’s economy.
- 83% of freelancers prefer working from home.
General Freelancing Statistics
1. 35% of the US workforce belongs to the freelance community.
A study performed by a global freelancing platform, Upwork, shows that more than 57 million people work as freelancers in the US, making up 35% of its workforce. Moreover, in the 2014–2019 period, the share of freelancers increased from 17% to 28%.
2. 35.5% of freelancers are located in Europe.
Based on a remote work statistics survey conducted by the Freelanex platform, European freelancers make up 35.5% of the global freelancing community. The numbers are lower in Latin America (29.2%), Asia (28%), and Africa (10.1%).
3. 20–30% of the young population in Europe and the US prefers to work independently.
Around 40% of freelancers worldwide are 25–34 years old. In addition, according to freelance stats, 20%–30% of young professionals in the US and Europe prefer working for themselves rather than a company.
4. 51% of the freelancers in the US wouldn’t accept any amount of money to take a traditional job.
More than half of freelancers say they wouldn’t work for a company or choose a traditional job for any amount of money. What’s more, 91% believe the best days for freelancing are still ahead, which is a 14% increase since 2014.
5. 83% of freelancers prefer working from home.
One of the benefits of freelancing employment is the work-from-home option. According to a Payoneer survey, 83% of freelancers claim they like working from home, while 17% prefer libraries, coffee shops, clients’ offices, co-working spaces, or private offices.
6. 71% of freelancers find work through online marketplaces.
More than two-thirds of freelancers find work through online marketplaces such as Upwork, while only 10% receive work by word-of-mouth and other traditional ways. Another 10% of freelancers find gigs on LinkedIn and other professional networking services or social media platforms.
7. Two-thirds of freelancers use social media channels to promote their work.
Freelancer statistics show that two-thirds of freelancers promote themselves and their services via various social media channels. Facebook currently holds first place among all social media with a 36% popularity rate, followed by LinkedIn (35%) and Instagram (27%). The last two have also seen a higher increase in usage than Facebook since 2020.
8. People who work exclusively as freelancers have scored 4.1 out of 5 in lifestyle satisfaction.
A freelance statistical analysis on lifestyle satisfaction shows exclusive freelancers are more content with their lives than traditional workers, scoring a rating of 4.1 out of 5.
On the other hand, people who opt for supplemental freelancing, meaning they work in companies and take on additional freelancing work, are less satisfied with their lifestyle. The study shows that they score a 3.8/5 rating and a lower average hourly rate ($19).
Gig Economy Statistics — How Much Do Freelancers Earn and What Are the Most Popular Jobs?
9. In 2019, freelancers in the US contributed $1 trillion to the country’s economy.
An extensive study by Upwork explored the impact freelancing has on the US economy, and the results were staggering. This community amounted to up to $1 trillion in earnings in 2019, translating to nearly 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), freelancing statistics show.
10. 75% of arts & design workers are freelancers.
Only 25% of the arts and design working community aren’t freelancers. The second industry with the highest freelancer percentage is entertainment, with 55%. At 52%, construction holds third place, followed by architecture/engineering and computers/mathematics at 42%.
11. Freelancers working in the finance sector have the highest hourly rates ($41).
Freelance economy statistics indicate that the most popular jobs among freelancers aren’t necessarily those with the best salaries. For example, those who work in the finance sector earn $41 per hour, even though the sector’s popularity rate is around 6%. In addition, the demand for finance jobs has increased by 19% in recent years.
12. Freelancers earn an average of $24 per hour for content writing.
Freelance writer statistics show that the hourly rates for freelance content writers have increased from $15 in 2020 to 24$ in 2022. Content writing is among the top freelancing jobs with a 10% popularity rate, right after web and graphic design and programming.
13. Freelance programmers earn $25 per hour.
Programming is the most popular freelancing job category after web and graphic design, with a 14% popularity rate. Moreover, freelance programming statistics show it has seen the highest increase in demand (21%) across all business sectors in recent years.
14. Freelancers with a master’s degree or a Ph.D. earn $30 per hour.
While the number of freelancers with a postgraduate degree is notably lower than the number of those who have a BA or BS degree, they have a higher hourly rate. Freelance salary statistics reveal that the postgraduates earn $30 an hour on average, while high school graduates and those with a Bachelor’s degree earn $22 and $24 per hour, respectively.
15. Exclusive freelancers charge $22/hour on average.
Recent statistics show that around 77% of freelancers prefer to work exclusively. Apart from the higher job satisfaction, their average hourly rate ($22) is also higher than that of “occasional” freelancers ($19).
Freelance Stats — Is There a Gender Gap Among Freelancers?
16. Certain professions have a higher percentage of female freelancers.
The female freelance population seems to be catching up with the males. For instance, translation (50%), administrative (46%), content writing (43%), customer support (43%), and project management (36%) have an above-average percentage of female freelancers.
17. Freelancer men earn $28/hour, while women’s hourly rates are around $23.
Facts about freelancing show that the gender gap in salaries still exists. Today, it is slightly wider than in 2020, when the hourly rates for men and women were $22 and $18, respectively.
Apart from having the highest freelancing rates per hour, North America has the widest salary gender gap — men earn $52 per hour while the rates for women are $37 on average. Still, compared to the traditional jobs, we can conclude that the gap is smaller among freelancers.
18. Women made up 29% of the freelancing workforce in 2021.
According to Payoneer’s research on freelancers’ demographics, in 2015, women made up 22% of the entire freelance workforce. That percentage grew by only 2% in 2019 but saw a noticeable increase in 2021 when women accounted for 29% of all freelancers.
An IPSE report also shows that flexibility and high salary are the reasons why the number of women freelancers has increased by 57% over the last ten years.
19. The Philippines stands out as the country with the highest percentage of female freelancers.
A freelance infographic shows that some countries have a higher than average percentage of female freelancers. For instance, 62% of the freelance workforce in the Philippines belongs to women. In the United States, this percentage is 47%, 34% in Serbia, and 30% in Ukraine and Argentina.
20. 59% of women and 52% of men freelancers have a Bachelor’s Degree or an equivalent.
59% of women and 52% of men in the freelancing community possess a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent certificate, while around 27% of women and 26% of men freelancers own a postgraduate degree. In addition, 14% of women and 22% of men are high school graduates.
Freelance Statistics — Conclusion
Based on all the stats covered above, we can conclude that freelancing doesn’t have an expiration date. As we delve deeper into the digital era, freelancing further strengthens its position as a global trend that will gather even more followers in the future.
Most freelancers nowadays use online marketplaces to find work and social media to promote their services. Programming and web and graphic design seem to be the most popular categories, and the highest-paid one is finance, freelance workforce statistics show.
All in all, no matter which area of business you are interested in, you can give freelancing a try — you might enjoy being your own boss.