Working the freelance lifestyle, you are self-employed, not employed by a single company.

The following freelance statistics will uncover the nuances about freelancing and explain how this work lifestyle affects the world. 

You get to work when you want, how you want, where you want, and with whom you want to work.

However, freelancers don’t have the benefit of having their taxes taken out of their pay, so they must put back enough of their freelance pay to pay their own taxes at tax time. 

Also, any benefits that come with employment at a company are the responsibility of the freelancer.

For example, health insurance, savings, retirement savings, and other personal-related finances.

Freelancers are usually people with specialized skills and knowledge in an area that benefits business owners.

Some of the fields where freelancers thrive include graphic design, writing, editing, proofreading, translating, consulting, coaching, and others.

Freelancers may also be referred to as contractors, gig workers, and simply self-employed.

The biggest difference between freelancing and these other job genres is that freelancers most often work from home on the internet.

They depend on the internet to deliver their projects. 

The main appeal of freelancing is being the king of your time. You have a lot of freedom to come and go, work, spend time with your family, etc.

Many freelancers earn an income over what people working 9-to5 jobs earn. 

Let’s discuss some freelance statistics for 2023.

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Key Freelance Statistics 2023

  1. In 2019, 46.4% of people working across the globe were self-employed.
  2. The most recent data shows that 78% of workers in the United States are freelancers.
  3. 40% of all global freelancers are independent contractors.
  4. As of early 2022, Google has more independent contractors and freelancers than employees in its workforce.
  5. Freelance writers make an average of $42,000 each year.
  6. Freelance editors can make between $25 and $35 an hour.
  7. Freelance digital marketers can work from home and make up to $1 million annually. 
  8. Freelance photographers are making about $120,000 or more per year by working for themselves.
  9. According to LinkedIn in 2018, 70% of small businesses have used freelancers. 
  10. One survey revealed that 72% of workers like the financial savings over commuting to work.

Freelance Statistics by the Numbers

Freelance

In this section, we will discuss how many freelancers there are in the United States and the world. 

1. In 2019, 46.4% of People Working Across the Globe Were Self-Employed.

According to our data research, we found out that 46.4% of the world’s workers were freelancers in 2019.

However, in 1992, that percentage was 55.9%. Depending on where you live, the percentages will vary. 

Even in the wake of a global pandemic, not all countries and regions have citizens who are engaging in freelance work.

Therefore, it’s down in some countries, but higher in others since 2019.

(World Bank)

2. The Most Recent Data Shows that 78% of Workers in The United States Are Freelancers.

The United States is one of the countries where freelancing is thriving.

In 2022, there were roughly 70.4 million freelancers working in the United States, and that number is growing. 

In fact, it’s predicted that there will be at least 79.6 million freelancers by 2025 and 90.1 by 2028.

Since 2014, freelancing in the United States saw exponential growth going into 2020. In 2014, there were 53 million, but by 2020, there were 59 million.

(Statista)

3. In 2022, There Were 70.4 Million Freelancers in The United States.

The growth expectation for 2023 is to see 73.3 million freelancers in the United States.

Going forward, in 2024 it is projected that 76.4 million people will be freelancing in the United States.

Since the data is based on past and present year-over-year figures, by 2027, it’s believed that 86.5 million freelancers will be from the United States.

(Statista) 

4. The Global Market Size Between 2021 and 2026 Is Expected to Grow at a CAGR of 15.3%.

The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the global freelance market between 2021 and 2026 is projected to be 15.3%.

This along with the numbers predicted for up to 2027 shows how the freelance sector will grow.

The freelance market itself is categorized as a growing industry, especially since the global pandemic hit.

The pandemic changed the face of working from home, resulting in exponential growth in the freelance marketplace. 

Related:   Nintendo Net Worth 2023

(Global News Wire)

5. 40% of All Global Freelancers Are Independent Contractors.

Freelancing is an overarching term for a variety of people who work from home or for themselves. Not all freelancers work from home, but many do.

The percentage of global independent contractors in the freelance sector is 40%, which is where most freelancers fall.

However, moonlighters are second in the freelance realm with 27%.

Diversified workers account for 18%, temporary workers 10%, and freelance business owners 5%. 

(The Simple Dollar, Finances Online)

6. As of early 2022, Google Has More Independent Contractors and Freelancers than Employees in Its Workforce.

Bloomberg calls freelancers and other independent contractors “the shadow workforce” in its article about Google having more freelancers/independent contractors than traditional employees. 

Many technology companies are hiring freelancers to do jobs and engage in projects over hiring employees.

It not only saves them money, but it cuts back on a lot of overhead. 

(Rock Content, Bloomberg)

7. The Philippines Has 208% Year-On-Year Growth of Freelancers Based on Revenue Growth.

Freelancing is a massive deal in the Philippines, as you can see by its 208% share. India is next with 160% of the market share.

The next countries include Japan (87%), Australia (86%), Hong Kong (79%), Mexico (72%), and Canada (71%). 

While the United States has a high percentage of freelancers, the above countries enjoy the market share in revenue growth.

Since the pandemic, the numbers in the United States have experienced a boom. 

Also, freelancers in the United States earn the highest incomes.

(Payoneer 2020 Report, RS Softwire)

Freelance Earnings Statistics

Freelance

We will discuss several types of freelance work that occurs on Upwork and how much a person can earn using their skills. 

8. Freelance Writers Make an Average of $42,000 Each Year.

Freelance writers commonly make between $30-$40 per hour, depending on their skill level and how much they write, and where they live.

Some types of writing pay more than others, but also require more hours of research and writing. 

For instance, eBook writers/ghostwriter can make up to $5,000 per book, but it may take two to five days to write an eBook.

Whereas traditional article writers make about $10 to $50 per hour depending on the client and the writer’s skills. 

Either way, the more you write, the more you make. 

(Upwork) 

9. Freelance Editors Can Make Between $25 and $35 an Hour.

Freelance editors make an average annual income of about $40,000.

Much like writers, editors earn based on what the client pays, the kind of editing they do, the editor’s skills and knowledge, and where they live.

The competition on Upwork can be an issue for some freelancers, but there’s a place for everyone at any level on the platform, including writers and editors.

(Upwork)

10. If You Have Graphic Design Skills, Your Rate Can Range from $40 to $45 per Hour.

It’s not uncommon for graphic designers to work from home as a freelancer on Upwork, and for other clients to earn upwards of $90,000 each year. 

It’s not always about the job, but it’s about the hustle and your willingness to work and deliver projects.

Some graphic design jobs are as simple as using a program to remove the background from an image or creating a simple logo.

(Upwork) 

11. Programmers Can Average $60 to $70 per Hour, Making About $120,000 Annually.

If you know a programming language or two, or more, you can almost write your own paycheck by providing services to clients.

You can use Upwork, but you can also find local clients who need your services and add to your income. 

As with most freelance jobs, your skills, knowledge, and willingness to work and deliver in a timely manner helps you to earn what you need or want.

(Upwork)

12. Web, Mobile, and General Developers Are Making Between $90,000 and $100,000 per Year Working from Home. 

Most of the Upwork data we have, this information is from 2021, so the amounts will be higher when we have updates for 2022.

However, you should expect to see an uptake in freelance developers across fields (Web, Mobile, General) and across hourly or fixed project wages. 

The per-hour range for General and Web developers falls between $50 and $50.

For Mobile developers, that range is between $55 and $65. Finding work isn’t hard, but you do need to prove yourself.  

(Upwork) 

13. Freelance Digital Marketers Can Work from Home and Make up To $1 Million Annually. 

While it’s not uncommon for digital marketers to reach the $1 million mark in earnings for their work, some do this part-time or as a second job, which brings their earnings down a bit.

It’s still a lucrative freelance field.

You can get a certification online to be a digital marketer, but you still need to show you can do the job by making a difference in the company’s engagement and exposure.

Some things that digital marketers do include lead generation and helping with brand awareness.

They utilize all digital channels, paid and free, that the company wants them to use, or what they agree on.

(Upwork)

14. Transcribers Are in Demand, so If You Have Transcription Skills You Can Make About $20-$25 per Hour. 

Freelance transcriptionists don’t always need experience since some companies are willing to train you for their transcription needs.

However, there are typing speed requirements for most of these jobs. 

The faster you can type, the more money you can make. You can work from home as a transcriptionist and enjoy an excellent work/life balance.

There are online training courses to become a transcriptionist.

(Upwork)

15. Freelance Photographers Are Making About $120,000 or More per Year by Working for Themselves.

Freelance photographers can work from home sometimes, but to capture photos, they usually need to go places.

The amount they get paid has a lot to do with the kind of “package” or project the client wants from them.

Their images are often used by blog owners, medical professionals, businesspeople, and other organizations.

Nature, weddings, general, business, closeup, faces, hands, feet, and other content are what photographers are asked to capture for clients.

If you’re a great amateur photographer, you can get in on some of these freelance earnings. If you’re a professional, you can earn even more.

(Upwork)

Freelance Demographics

Freelance

Here is where we discuss the demographics of freelancers. 

16. The Top Freelancing Country Is the United States.

The United States is the top country for freelancers, according to freelancer statistics from 2022.

They call freelancing “the gig economy” because people are earning money on their terms more now than ever.

The younger generation is drawn to more tech-savvy jobs they can do from home without a lot of supervision.

Instead of going the traditional “get a job” route, they are freelancing in the United States. 

(RS Softwire)

The United Kingdom is second in the list of freelancing countries.

17.  The Data from 2022 Reveals that The United Kingdom Takes Second Place only To the United States in The List of Top Freelancing Countries. 

Freelancing enjoyed an uptake of 31% between 2021 and 2022. The two top sectors enjoying the freelance lifestyle in the UK include IT and beauticians.

Consultancy is up there with IT freelancers. 

Freelancers in the United Kingdom are enjoying the freedom of this kind of work and the income that allows them to enjoy their free time and family time.

(RS Softwire)

18. The Percentage of Male to Female Freelancers Is Almost Even in The United States.

While it’s not quite “equal”, more women are freelancing than men as of 2022 in the United States.

Related:   28+ Best Jobs for 11 Year Olds to Make Money in 2023

Women freelancers account for 52.3% of freelancers, while men account for 47.7%. These percentages are within a few percentage points.

We’ll learn more about where this goes in 2023.

(Statista 2)

19. A ZenBusiness Study Showed that Men Make 48% as Freelancers.

According to a ZenBusiness study, men earn almost 50% (48%) more than women in the freelance community.

So, while the percentage of men and women working is not so skewed, the income is very skewed. 

In the freelance accounting and consulting sector, men earn $71.82 per hour, while women earn $65.34 in this same sector.

It’s even more skewed in the customer service, administrative, and IT sectors. 

(Medium – Alexandra Fasulo)

20. In 2022, Gen-Zers Chose Freelancing 53% of The Time.

The age group that chooses freelancing the most is the Generation A crowd. This generation ranges from 18 to 20 years old.

Millennials choose freelancing in 44% of the cases, which isn’t too shabby.

Gen X and Baby Boomers are at the lower end, but still represent a large and growing group of freelancers.

Gen X-ers account for 30%, while Baby Boomers are represented by 26%.

This is believed to be due to the pandemic. 

(SHRM)

Freelancing and COVID-19 Statistics

Freelance

This section will briefly cover how the COVID-19 global pandemic affected freelancing and the way the world goes to work now.

21. Younger People Are Choosing to Freelance Instead of Traditional Jobs.

Since the pandemic, the younger generations have started choosing to stay at home to work.

They either primarily stay at home to work, or they have chosen to be in charge of their own earnings through the freelance economy inside and outside the home. 

(SHRM)

22. Since the Pandemic, 8.2 Million Freelancers Have Been Added to The Freelance Workforce in The United States. 

The impact of the pandemic brought 8.2 million new freelancers into the freelance world.

These numbers may seem substantial, but they are only growing as the younger generations see the benefits of the gig economy.

(Pew Research) 

23. Freelance Statistics Show that 28% of Freelancers Quit Their Jobs. 

The pandemic also boosted the instances of employees switching to freelancing by 28%.

Some were working other jobs until their freelance careers allowed them to make enough to quit their traditional jobs. 

(We are Indy)

24. In 2021, over 41% of Nontraditional Workers Experienced Lost Jobs or Had Their Hours Cut Back.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contractors, freelancers, and other non-traditional workers suffered the loss of their job, or had their hours cut back.

This created a 10% upturn in people who withdrew retirement account funds. 

(Pew Trusts)

25. The Data Shows that 82% of All Freelancers Work Remotely at Home.

Remote work has become a trending topic and a trending way to work.

Is the world ready for such a large percentage of people working from home, freelance or otherwise?

(Elite Content Marketer)

26. A 2020 Report Showed that An Upturn of 12% of New Freelancers Starting This Kind of Work in The United States.

The study showed that 12% of new people starting freelancing in 2020 because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, the pandemic generated more freelancers. Of this percentage, 48% view freelancing as their long-term career. 

(Elite Content Marketer)

27. Even Though the Freelancing World Grew During the Pandemic, Long-Time Freelancers Lost Their Jobs. 

Working freelancers between 2019 and 2020 experienced a decline of 7% because of the pandemic.

The number of independent workers decreased from 41.1 million to 38.2 million over the year.

(Forbes)

28. According to LinkedIn in 2018, 70% of Small Businesses Have Used Freelancers. 

LinkedIn for small business says that hiring freelancers is a wildly successful and popular trend, as of 2018.

Not only have 70% of small businesses hired a freelancer before, 81% planned to hire freelancers after 2018. This has and will continue to happen. 

(Business 2 Community, LinkedIn)

29. According to data from Flexjobs, 51% of those Working Remotely Are More Productive.

Surveys have shown that freelancers and people who work from home in general are happier and more productive in their jobs.

Since so many jobs were lost and/or hours were cut, workers are happy to have a job. Being at home is also a comfort zone, which makes workers more relaxed and productive. 

(Elite Content Marketer)

30. One Survey Revealed that 72% of Workers Like the Financial Savings Over Commuting to Work.

Freelance

Obviously, people working as freelancers and at home are pleased to save money on fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles.

It’s no surprise that 72% of survey respondents would be happy about that. 

(Elite Content Marketer)

FAQs

How Do Freelance Workers Get Paid?

Freelancers make their money mostly based on an hourly, monthly, or project basis. However, it depends on how the client and freelancer word their contract.

Contracts for delivery and payment are vital to the freelancer. It’s how you get paid for your work.

What Skills Are the Most In-Demand for 2023?

The skills that are in the most demand going into 2023 include the following:

• Cybersecurity
• Data science
• Content writing
• Low code development
• Web development and design
• Digital currency development
• Food blogging
• Copywriting
• Bookkeeping and accounting
• Video and animation creation
• Voice overs
• Digital marketing
• Career mentoring and guidance

Besides these skills needed, you also need to be good with time management, communication, finance, motivation, and persistence. 

What Technical Skills Are the Most in Demand for Freelancers?

The technical skills arena is in-demand, so these are the areas where freelancers need skills and knowledge.

• Graphic design
• Web design and development 
• Content management systems (CMS)
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Data analytics
• App development
• Information technology (IT)

These are some of the top tech skills you need to succeed as a freelancer.

What Are the Most In-Demand Skills for Marketing Freelancers?

The most in-demand skills and knowledge needed for freelance marketers include:

• Lead generation
• Social media marketing
• Search engine optimization SEO
• Instagram and Facebook marketing
• Social media management (SMM) 
• Marketing strategy
• Market research
• Email marketing
• Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing

So, if you have some of these skills, it’s worth updating uour skillset to get more work.

Where Are the Top 10 Countries for Freelancing?

We have found a top 10 list from 2022 where the top freelancing countries are located.

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Brazil
4. Pakistan
5. Ukraine
6. Philippines
7. India
8. Bangladesh
9. Russia
10. Serbia

These are the countries enjoying the benefits that freelancing provides. 

What Are the Average Global Hourly Earnings for Freelancers?

The global freelance realm earns an average of $19 per hour overall.

Conclusion 

After reading these statistics about freelancing, we hope you feel more informed about the topic.

We shared why people freelance, where they freelance, and how they freelance in various jobs. 

The biggest advantage of freelancing is being able to choose how you spend your time and getting more time for yourself and your family.

Also, you get to make your own schedule and work on your terms (mostly).

More people are choosing to work remotely, and especially work as freelancers.

Freelancing is one way to obtain and keep a stable job in this new workforce environment.

Even during a shift, freelancers can still work for themselves and clients. 

Check out the above freelance statistics in case you missed something.

Sources

BloombergBusiness 2 CommunityElite Content Marketer
Finances OnlineForbesGlobal News Wire
LinkedInMedium – Alexandra FasuloPayoneer 2020 Report
Pew ResearchPew TrustsRock Content
RS SoftwireSHRMStatista
Statista 2The Simple DollarUpwork
We are IndyWorld Bank