35 Stunning Freelance Statistics You Need To Know in 2024

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Romj Amon
Written by
Romj Amon

Updated · Jan 02, 2024

Romj Amon
Freelance Copywriter | Joined October 2021 | Twitter LinkedIn
Romj Amon

Rmoj Amon is a professional copywriter with a special love for technology and curiosity about Window... | See full bio

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Florence Desiata
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
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Freelancing is a relatively new way of working. Yet, it is already a key driver of the US labor market and economy. In 2022, because of the abrupt changes brought about by the pandemic, freelancing contributed $1.35 trillion to the economy from only $50 billion in the previous year,

The world’s freelance workforce continues to set records left and right. With the promise of lucrative returns, flexible work hours, and the ability to work from anywhere worldwide, freelancing changed the face of labor as we know it.

Check out the next section to learn how freelancing is taking over the world.

Editor’s Choice

  • There are 73.3 million freelancers in the US in 2023, up from 70.4 million in 2022.
  • Upwork has over 16 million freelancers.
  • The global freelance market was estimated at $4.43 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $12.01 billion by 2028.
  • On average, freelancers bill an hourly rate of $28.
  • Among freelancers, 52.3% are women, and 47.7% are men.
  • The average freelancer's age is 37 years old.
  • 55% of freelancers in North America are between 25 and 44.
  • Freelance software consultants command more than $92,000 a year.
  • 3 in 10 Fortune 100 companies source freelance talent from Upwork.
  • 58 million employed Americans engage in independent work.
  • In 2023, the global gig economy is on pace to cross the $455 billion mark.

How Many Freelancers Are There in the World?

There are 1.57 billion freelancers out of a total global labor force of 3.38 billion people.

In addition to that, 58% of US workers who haven’t freelanced already consider it a possible work alternative in the future.

There are many reasons why people choose to become freelancers and reject the traditional model of employment, some of which are:

  • self-expression
  • Independence
  • financial advantage
  • flexibility

While the COVID years were certainly a blessing for freelancers, let’s dive into the stats to know how freelancers are faring post-COVID.

1. 36% of working Americans earn an income from freelancing.

(Wave Apps )

Freelancing has proven to be a relatively lucrative employment to be in. Its workers range from making deliveries, driving an Uber, or working in big tech and finance firms.

Moreover, 75% of those engaged in freelancing report that they earn as much, or more, as a freelancer than when they worked full time.

2. Freelancers charge an average of $28 per hour.


Project management, multimedia production, sales, programming, marketing, finance, and IT are the fields that pay above-average hourly freelance rates.

North Americans receive the highest average remuneration for their services ($44), while the lowest hourly pay goes to Central & Eastern Europeans ($22).

General Freelance Statistics

Reeling in the wake of the 2008 recession, the 2010s saw an explosion of freelancers. Women also joined in massive numbers, rising to 63% between 2008 and 2018.

In the past decade, talent platforms have also grown exponentially. With the rise of Upwork and other platforms, 73% of respondents report finding work is easier with the newer tech.

Platforms providing an avenue for gig work are reeling in profits like never before. To understand how prevalent freelancing is worldwide, check out these figures.

3. There are 73.3 million freelancers in the US in 2023.

(Statista, Zippia)

There were 70.4 million freelancers in 2022, up from 67.4 million in 2021. This number is expected to balloon to 76.4 million in 2024.

Statistics predict that in 2028, 90.1 million people will be freelancing in the US.


Number of Freelancers in the United States, in millions


57.3 million


59.7 million


62.2 million


64.8 million


67.4 million


70.4 million


73.3 million


76.4 million


79.6 million


83 million


86.5 million


90.1 million

The rise is freelancing is traced to several factors, one being the demand for more flexible work arrangements. Most freelance work can be done in the comfort of people’s homes, away from restrictions usually associated with traditional work arrangements. These include doing away with dress codes, commuting, and traditional 9-5 hours.

4. Freelancers’ average salary in the United States is $68,947 annually or $33 hourly.


The annual salary for freelancers in the US ranges from $15,000 to $158,000. Freelancers from North America are typically paid more due to the higher cost of living in the region.

5. On average, 46.5% of the world’s workers in 2021 were self-employed.

(Statista, IZA World of Labor)

As the digital economy matures, the barriers to self-employment decrease.

Suddenly, workers no longer rely on geographically restricted jobs to make money. Thanks to the internet, they can gain and improve their skills and work in their PJs without leaving the house.

Curiously, the average percentage of self-employed workers is much higher in low-income economies, rising to 80.3%. On the other hand, the average for high-income ones is just 12.2%.

Gary Fields, a Cornell University professor, says that the high amount of self-employed individuals from low-income countries is simply people’s response to the lack of work opportunities.

Instead of waiting for employment opportunities, many individuals in poorer countries create their own self-employment opportunities. 

6. The US heads the top 10 freelancing countries list, posting the highest revenue growth of 78%.


Freelancing is extremely lucrative in the US if you have the right skills and are on the right platform to meet current demand. With the right portfolio and negotiation skills, seasoned freelancers can get a much higher pay rate in their field.

Some of the most in-demand fields in US freelancing are:

  • Programming
  • Marketing
  • Business consulting
  • Writing

Trailing behind the Americans are the Brits and the Brazilians, with year-over-year earnings up 59% and 48%, respectively.

Infographics about Top Asian Countries for Freelancing

7. 48% of Gen Z workers are freelancers.

(Fast Company, Yahoo! Finance)

The youngest workers are spearheading the freelancing trend. 67% of GenZers are freelancers or are planning to freelance. According to Fiverr via Yahoo! Finance, 1 in 5 cite their dissatisfaction with their full-time jobs as their main motivator.

Many GenZers also don’t believe a college degree or a 9-5 job is necessary for a successful career.

  • 40% don’t see a university diploma as a requirement to start a successful career.
  • 70% see freelancing as a good alternative to a traditional 9-5 job.
  • 24% believe taking a gap year to explore their interests or travel is a crucial step before launching a career.

Moreover, many see independent work as more stable than traditional employment, making them less vulnerable to layoffs.

8. 86% of freelancers work from home.

(Fiverr Workspace)

One of the biggest allure of freelancing is the ability to work from home, away from constraints of commuting to work, dress codes, and traditional work hours.

However, working from home also has its downsides. Noisy households, construction, and poor internet are some key culprits.

With that, many freelancers opt for their local coffee shops in a typical week to work to be more productive. After all, coffee shops offer a calm atmosphere for people to work and focus on their tasks. Some rent coworking spaces or work in a client’s office.

🎉 Fun Fact:

While most people have switched back to on-site work after the pandemic, 50% of US workers are now in hybrid set-ups.

Also, having a hybrid work system minimized employee quitting rates by 35%.

9. In hourly terms, gig workers make 40% less than the minimum wage.

(Rest of World, Economic Policy Institute)

Many freelancers may be financially satisfied but must work longer hours to earn the amount they’re happy with.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that gig workers must also deal with poor working conditions.

  • 62% report losing earnings due to technical issues clocking in or out of work.
  • 19% have experienced hunger because they couldn’t afford to eat.
  • 31% couldn’t afford to pay their utility bills fully.

Contrary to their claims of entrepreneurial opportunities, many gig workers and their families still face high levels of economic insecurity.

10. Clients don’t pay 74% of freelancers on time.

(Independent Economy Council)

A survey of 416 freelancers shows that most wait at least two months to get paid, even if they specify the remittance date. While 20% of freelancers are paid 24 hours after sending an invoice, 16% don’t get paid for 2 months or even more.

Even worse, 72% of freelancers have invoices never paid for by clients. Most unpaid independent workers have outstanding invoices worth $50,000 or more for completed work.

11. Male freelancers are 350% more likely to earn beyond $150,000 than their female counterparts.

(Fiverr Workspace)

As in most industries, the gender pay gap still extends to freelancing. Men are 350% more likely to earn an annual salary of $150,000 and beyond than women.

Despite this seeming pay gap, women are more likely to be paid than men in freelancing. This means that clients are less likely to run away from their financial commitments with female freelancers.

Almost half of the independent male workers have been left high and dry. Whereas clients don’t disappear on 62% of female freelancers they hire.

Freelance Industry Statistics

Despite current economic instability, the freelancing market will increase further in the coming years. Estimates show that by 2030, at least 100 million workers in the US will be freelancers

Moreover, Upwork projects that freelancers may make up most of the US workforce by 2027.

Let’s dive into the stats about how the freelancing industry impacts the global workforce.

12. The global market size of freelance platforms was worth $4.43 billion in 2022, up from $3.81 billion in 2020.


Infographics about the top 5 freelancing platforms

The global freelance platform market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 15.4% and reach $12.01 billion by 2028. This does not come as a surprise since freelance gigs are offered almost everywhere. 

The biggest players that currently control the freelancing space are:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • Toptal
  • 99designs

13. By September 2021, Google had employed more temps and contractors than full-time employees (150,000 vs. 144,000).

(The New York Times)

Despite being a favorite platform of independent workers, Google reportedly treated members of its temporary workforce as second-class employees.

The tech giant’s crackdown on its shadow workforce’s access to learning tools is a good case in point. For example, unlike full-time employees, Google contractors must submit a formal request or purchase such skills training material themselves.

💡Did You Know?

2023 is a rocky year for Google employees. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, laid off 6% of its employees to “refocus on the company’s core business” and in favor of AI.

Overall, Google laid off 12,000 of its employees.

14. Uber has about 5 million drivers across the world.


There has been a driver shortage on the platform after the pandemic forced countries to impose lockdowns.

The rising cost of living has forced many to accept gigs to supplement their incomes. That’s why the latest self-employed statistics reveal that Uber’s network in 2022 is 31% bigger than in 2021.

Despite soaring gas prices, Uber drivers have been making more money than they did pre-pandemic.

💡Did You Know? By 2030, working remotely may end up wiping out $800 billion in commercial real estate.

15. WeWork has more than 700 locations around the globe.

(WeWork, Reuters)

The company imploded in 2019 but took advantage of the pandemic to revive itself. WeWork also offers low prices and flexibility for freelancers. Its 2022 revenue was expected to jump at least 30% as more freelancers look for flexible office spaces for hybrid work.

Now, the demand for flexible workspace is back and stronger than ever. With its solid brand recall, WeWork is in a prime position to occupy the top.

Freelance Jobs Statistics

Many job opportunities await in the freelance industry. Based on their niche, freelancers continuously upskill to offer a range of services to their clients. 

If you plan to learn more skills, check out which skills are hot and in demand in the market through these stats: 

16. 36% of freelancers are in web and graphic design and programming.


On the other end of the spectrum, only 1% of independent workers work in finance. They may be few, but freelancers who work in finance make an average of $41 per hour compared to programmers who make an average of $25 per hour.

17. With an annual salary of $92,219, software consultants are the most compensated freelancers.


Likewise, freelance human resources advisors, videographers, web developers, and financial consultants make over $75,000 annually.

18. According to Fiverr statistics, interest in promotional video ad production exploded by 453% from December 2021 to May 2022.


79% of consumers on the internet prefer watching videos rather than reading about a product. It’s not surprising how video production skills are now in demand.

The other trending skills on the platform during this period were as follows:

  • Social media content manager
  • Logistic site-building
  • 3D computer-aided design modeling
  • NFT art creation

19. Freelance grave tenders make up to $28.50 per job.

(Heaven’s Maid)

Certainly, one of the oddest gigs out there, grave tending, involves cleaning headstones and delivering flowers.

Completing a standard flat grave marker takes 5–15 minutes, making it a rewarding job for efficient grave tenders.

Upwork Statistics

Upwork is the dominant freelancing platform. Despite only being launched in 2013 in Campbell, California, Upwork already has a market share of 56.04% in the talent marketplace industry.

Let’s check out the numbers involved.

20. There are over 16 million freelancers on Upwork.


With the current state of the economy and movements like "The Great Resignation" and "Quiet Quitting," many professionals are assessing what it means to have a rewarding career. 

Many American freelancers ventured into gigs, significantly contributing to the US economy.

💡Did You Know?

The Great Resignation was a nightmare for many companies. US employers spend $1.1 billion yearly to replace resigned or terminated workers.

Moreover, it turns out that replacing workers is not only time-consuming, it is also expensive. Companies spend $3,000 to $18,000 to fill each vacant position.

21. For $500 freelance earnings, Upwork takes a 20% commission.


The fee for Upwork depends on the client’s earnings. With earnings from $0 to $500, the freelancer will pay 20% for service. 

When earning from $500.01 to $10,000, 0%. On the other hand, when earning $10,000.01 or more, 5%. In this way, Upwork can also make money to continue its business. 

22. Upwork revenue rose by 205.75% from 2016 to 2021.


The increase from $164.45 million to $502.80 million in five years means business is more than flourishing right now. 

The key to Upwork’s resounding success is its focus on making its platform user-friendly for freelancers looking for clients and businesses to post jobs in. It is also free and has little to no barrier to entry for people.

23. Freelancers in the US, India, and the Philippines accounted for Upwork’s $150.09 million revenue in 2021.


In comparison, independent workers from the rest of the world brought in $146.84 million in the same year. Over time, these countries have consistently produced more than others for the company. According to 2016–2021 Upwork statistics, the contribution of this trio of freelance markets went from 48.38% to 50.55%.

24. 30% of Fortune 100 companies use freelance Upwork talent.

(Fast Company)

Blue-chip corporations use different breeds of independent workers in various ways, as do mom-and-pop shops.

This helps disprove the notion that freelancing happens in the creative field only.

25. With 243 roles up for grabs, developers were the most sought-after professionals on the platform in May 2022.

(Digital Information World)

On the contrary, data analysts had the least demand after having only five positions advertised that month.

👍 Helpful Article:

Thinking of trying out a freelancing gig? Check out our tried and tested list of 10 innovative remote desktop tools to make every freelancer’s life easier.

Freelancing in America

The US remains the world’s freelancing powerhouse. As it expands, it shows how much the industry is changing the economy and the face of the labor pool.

An all-time high of 60 million Americans dipped into freelance work in 2022, making up 39% of the US workforce.

Dive into the US freelancing industry with the stats below.

26. In 2021, freelancing contributed $1.3 trillion to the US economy.


This was $100 million higher than what freelancers collectively earned in 2020. Considering that 2021 was rather turbulent, such an increase proves freelancers' resilience amid economic challenges.

27. In 2021, 68% of full-time freelancers feel more secure working independently.

(Harvard Business Review)

Historical freelancing stats say that only 32% and 53% had this sentiment in 2011 and 2019, respectively.

It shows that independent work now provides job security to a broader segment of the American workforce. 29% of permanent employees agree that 9-to-5 jobs are riskier.

Even without any economic crisis like the Great Recession, countless American employees get axed in the name of corporate reconstruction.

28. 51% of US workers with graduate degrees freelance.


This is evidence that the allure of permanent employment to the most educated workers is fading.

Many of those with graduate degrees see freelancing as an opportunity to test their abilities and their education in practical situations.

After all, freelancing can open the door to greater earnings, flexibility, and control over work hours.

29. 33% of employed Americans who make more than $150,000 work independently to some extent.


This independent worker group includes lawyers, actors, accountants, creatives, traveling nurses, and influencers.

However, those who are freelancing in America are usually low-income earners.

In addition to income level, race or ethnicity can determine one’s tendency to become an independent worker.

For instance, significantly more Latino and Hispanic employed individuals gravitate toward independent work than other racial or ethnic groups. Moreover, first-gen immigrants are more likely to become freelancers than their succeeding generations.

30. With 50 easily accessible coworking spaces, Dallas is the most freelancer-friendly city in the States.


On average, these spots cost $267 a month and are only 0.1 miles away from the nearest public transportation.

Other cities in Texas, like Austin and Houston, are also great cities to be in.

💡Did You Know?

More and more freelancers are leaving megacities like New York City to smaller cities like Dallas due to its lower cost of living. Aside from obvious reasons like lower rents, it includes extra benefits like lower taxes and the opportunity to work with others.

31. With 2.4 spaces per 100,000 people, Colorado has the highest number of coworking spots nationwide.


Overall, Centennial State is only the fourth-best state for freelancers.

After considering the self-employed population size, broadband speed, and cost of living, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia outrank Colorado.

32. With 174,900 total Google searches, California demonstrated the highest freelancer demand in 2021.


Companies in the US are hiring freelancers, and the Golden State businesses are most favorable in this tactic. They want to utilize specialized talents they can have while bringing in faster deliverables. 

💡Did You Know?

Despite having the most demand for freelancers, the Golden State wasn't in the top 10 destinations for freelancers. It’s because it’s the second-most expensive state to live in and has the slowest broadband speed.

The Future of Freelancing

Freelancing’s future depends highly on embracing the new norm. The freelancing landscape will change as the global workforce adapts to technological advancements in AI, machine learning, and many others.

Check out these stats to see where the future of freelancing is going.

33. The global gig economy will grow to $455 billion in 2023.


This figure stems from the 17.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 to 2023. In other words, the gig economy is expected to expand by 123% in these five years.

34. The worldwide freelance platforms market could be worth $9.1 billion by 2027.


This projection is based on the CAGR of 15.3% from 2021 to 2027. Although freelancers and clients can do business directly, intermediaries won’t go anywhere soon.

35. By 2027, there will be 86.5 million freelancers in the US.

(Fast Company)

If this estimate proves to be accurate, half of the US’ employed population will be freelancing in the near future.

👍 Helpful Article: 

If you’re a freelancer, making optimal decisions for your work can be overwhelming. Alleviate your decision fatigue by harnessing the potential of big data. Check out these articles to know more:


Freelancing isn’t for everyone. However, it’s apparent that it increasingly appeals to most workers.

Self-employment isn’t without risks. Yet, its drawbacks are arguably way more palatable than the downsides of the traditional employment model.

If you watch out for its pitfalls and play your cards right, freelancing can positively impact your life.


Which skill is best for freelancing?

Copywriting, Graphic Design, Social Media Management, Digital Marketing, and Coding are some of the most in-demand skills in the freelancing landscape. 

What are the easiest skills for freelancing?

You can start as a general or administrative virtual assistant if you know how to use computers. It has the easiest tasks, mostly about Internet research and email administration.

Who uses Upwork the most?

Most US businesses use Upwork. Information technology and services sector also frequently use the platform. 


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