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20 Gig Economy Statistics in 2023: US & Worldwide

The gig economy has transformed the way we work, offering flexibility and independence to millions around the world. As more people embrace gig work as a primary or supplementary source of income, it‘s important to understand the latest statistics and trends shaping this sector.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore 20 insightful gig economy statistics in 2023, both in the US and globally. Whether you‘re considering joining the gig workforce or just curious about the explosive growth of on-demand work, these facts and figures will give you a data-driven look at the state of the gig economy today.

Key Gig Economy Statistics

  • 36% of US workers participate in the gig economy, approximately 57 million people.
  • By 2027, gig workers are expected to make up the majority of the US workforce.
  • The average hourly earnings for US gig workers is $31.40.
  • Globally, there are around 1.57 billion gig workers.
  • India has emerged as the second-largest gig economy after the US.
  • 48% of gig workers in the UK hold down full-time jobs in addition to gig work.

US Gig Economy Statistics

Let‘s start by examining the data on gig work specifically in the United States.

1. 36% of US workers participate in the gig economy, approximately 57 million people.

In 2020, 36% of the US workforce participated in gig work, equating to around 57 million gig workers out of 159 million full-time workers. This demonstrates the massive shift towards flexible, freelance, and on-demand work. (ZipRecruiter)

2. By 2027, gig workers are expected to make up the majority of the US workforce.

Gig work is on track to become the norm rather than the exception. Experts predict freelancers, independent contractors, and temporary workers will form the majority of the US workforce by 2027. This underscores how the very nature of work is changing. (Upwork)

3. The average hourly earnings for US gig workers is $31.40.

According to a 2021 study by Wonolo, the average hourly earnings for gig workers came out to $31.40. However, there was significant variation across industries. For example, delivery drivers averaged $20.73 per hour, while tech freelancers averaged $46.53 per hour.

4. 44% of gig workers rely on gig work as their primary source of income.

Close to half (44%) of all US gig workers depend on gig work for their main income, not just supplementary earnings. This debunks the perception that gig work is solely a side hustle. For nearly half the gig workforce, it‘s a full-time job. (Edison Research, 2018)

5. 84% of gig workers report finding purpose in their work.

The overwhelming majority of gig workers (84%) say they find purpose and meaning in their gig work. This directly contrasts with just 48% of traditional full-time employees who get a sense of purpose from their jobs. (McKinsey, Medium)

6. Florida has the highest percentage of gig workers among US states.

Florida takes the lead with the highest proportion of gig workers. 22% of the state‘s workforce participates in gig work, likely driven by tourism and the large retiree population. Other top states include Vermont (19.5%), Maine (18.8%), and Oregon (17.9%). (ADP)

7. Around 40% of US companies use gig workers for at least 25% of their workforce.

The use of contingent gig workers is rising steadily, with 40% of businesses now relying on gig labor to fulfill at least 25% of their workforce needs. Add to this the fact that 16% of workers at the average US company are gig workers. (ADP)

8. Men are more likely to participate in gig work than women, at 31% vs 18%.

American men are almost twice as likely as women to rely on gig work as their primary income source, at a rate of 31% vs 18%. However, among those using gig work to supplement income, women edge out men at 56% vs 51%. (Edison Research, 2018)

9. 55% of Black gig workers rely on gig work as their main income source.

Looking at participation by race and ethnicity, 55% of Black or African American gig workers use gig work for their primary income. This is higher than Hispanic/Latino (47%) and White (41%) gig workers. (Edison Research, 2018)

10. By 2023, over half of US companies expect to use more gig workers than full-time employees.

The upward trend is clear – by 2023, over 50% of corporate managers plan to increase their use of gig workers to outnumber traditional full-time hires. As the workforce evolves, reliance on agile gig talent will only grow. (Gartner)

Global Gig Economy Statistics

Let‘s expand our view to global gig economy statistics and facts.

11. Globally, there are around 1.57 billion gig workers.

Worldwide, approximately 1.57 billion people participate in some form of gig work, representing nearly half (46.4%) of the global workforce. As gig platforms expand across borders, this number is projected to keep rising. (Gitnux, MarketSplash)

12. India has emerged as the second-largest gig economy after the US.

With over 15 million workers, India has solidified its spot as home to the second-largest gig economy globally after the United States. Impressively, India accounts for 40% of all online gig work worldwide. (BW Disrupt)

13. The US, India, and China together account for the majority of gig work.

The top three countries for gig work are the United States, India, and China. Combined, they make up the lion‘s share of global gig work. The rise of digitization and internet connectivity in these nations fuels growth. (Mastercard, World Bank)

14. Gig platform usage in developing countries rose 30% during COVID-19.

During the pandemic, adoption of gig platforms surged by 30% in developing nations. This highlights the importance of gig work in unlocking economic opportunities within emerging markets. (Deloitte)

15. Globally, the average hourly rate for gig work is $19.

Looking at global earnings data, the average hourly wage for gig workers worldwide comes out to $19. However, averages vary greatly depending on factors like location and profession. For example, North American tech freelancers average around $45 per hour. (Small Business Blog)

16. 7.25 million people participate in gig work across the United Kingdom.

As of 2023, the gig economy workforce has expanded to 7.25 million participants in the UK, representing 22.1% of British workers. In just two years, the UK gig workforce grew by over 2.8 million workers. (Standout CV)

17. 48% of gig workers in the UK maintain full-time jobs in addition to gig work.

Many UK gig workers don‘t rely on gig income alone. Almost half (48%) have full-time jobs on top of their side gigs. Additionally, 71.5% use gig work to supplement their income rather than provide their sole earnings. (Standout CV)

18. The UK gig economy is projected to grow 16% per year through 2027.

Forecasts predict the UK gig economy will sustain rapid growth at a compound annual rate of 16% through 2027. If accurate, this implies the gig workforce could expand by over 5 million in the next five years. (Robert Walters)

19. Most gig workers in the UK are concentrated in London.

The data shows London is the epicenter of the UK gig economy, home to 21% of British gig workers. After London, the regions with the next highest saturation are Yorkshire and the Humber (16.6%) and the South East (11.5%). (RSA)

20. Over one-third of UK gig workers provide online clerical, data entry, or virtual assistance.

The top gig occupation in the UK is online administrative work, with 39% of gig workers offering virtual assistance, data entry, clerical services, or similar computer-based tasks. (IPSOS, 2021)

Reasons For the Gig Economy‘s Growth

Several key factors are fueling the meteoric rise of the gig economy worldwide:

  • Technology – Apps and digital platforms enable seamless matching of gig workers to tasks and customers. Smartphones provide constant connectivity.
  • Demand for flexibility – Both workers and businesses are moving away from traditional 9-5 employment in favor of flexible, customizable models.
  • Evolving demographics – Millennials and Gen Z show less loyalty to single employers and more interest in gig work independence.
  • Economic conditions – Stagnant wages, recessions, unemployment prompt people to monetize skills through gig work.
  • Pandemic impact – COVID-19 accelerated adoption of digital, remote, and on-demand services.

Benefits of Gig Work

Alongside the staggering statistics, it‘s worth exploring why so many people opt for gig work:

  • Autonomy and flexibility – Gig workers can set their own hours and work when and where they want. No boss looking over their shoulder.
  • Variety – Gig work enables people to take on different projects and assignments across multiple fields of interest.
  • Supplemental income – Almost half of gig workers use it to bolster their existing income source. The extra money provides a financial cushion.
  • Skills development – Gig work allows people to gain experience in emerging skills like social media marketing or machine learning.
  • Low barriers to entry – Startup costs are often minimal. Many gigs require just a laptop and internet connection.
  • Human connection – For gig workers in caregiving, transportation, delivery, and other service fields, they gain meaningful human interactions.

Challenges of Gig Work

Despite the benefits, gig work does pose some downsides and risks:

  • Unpredictable income – Irregular work and lack of stability can cause cash flow issues.
  • No employee benefits – Gig workers miss out on health insurance, retirement plans, paid leave, and other perks of payroll jobs.
  • Self-employment taxes – Contractors pay a higher tax rate since they must cover the portion employers usually pay.
  • Competition and fees – Platforms are flooded with gig workers, driving down wages. Platform fees also eat into earnings.
  • Lack of protections – There‘s limited job security or protections since gig workers aren‘t classified as employees. No minimum wage or overtime rules.
  • Burnout – The relentless hustle for the next gig can be mentally and physically exhausting. Work-life boundaries blur.

Getting Started with Gig Work

If you‘re intrigued by the promise and flexibility of gig work, here are five tips to start:

1. Identify your skills – Make a list of your knowledge, abilities, and experience that could add value to clients or employers.

2. Build your online presence – Create a website, LinkedIn profile, portfolio, and other materials to showcase your capabilities.

3. Research gig platforms – Explore top sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Uber, and Lyft and create carefully crafted profiles.

4. Start slowly – Don‘t jump in full-time. Begin with a few small, manageable gigs to get the hang of balancing multiple clients.

5. Manage taxes and finances – Educate yourself on self-employment taxes, estimated quarterly taxes, retirement savings, and maintaining gig income records.

Top Gig Economy Sectors

While you can find gig work across fields, here are some of the top sectors:

  • Transportation – Driving for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and more.
  • Delivery – From food to groceries to packages; a range of delivery apps leverage gig workers.
  • Remote computer/IT services – Programming, web development, app development, data analysis, security.
  • Creative – Graphic design, writing, editing, illustration, photography, videography.
  • Business consulting – Marketing, HR, recruiting, strategy, project management.
  • Caregiving – Childcare, eldercare, pet care, house cleaning, errands.
  • Manual labor – Construction, maintenance, repairs, landscaping, cleaning.


In the past decade, the gig economy has morphed from a niche concept to a major force disrupting and reshaping the global workforce. Millions now earn their livelihood from short-term freelance work facilitated by digital platforms.

The statistics presented in this guide provide insights into the scale, makeup, tendencies, motivations, and future trajectories of the gig workforce worldwide. Key takeaways include:

  • More people than ever are embracing gig work as their primary or supplementary income, a trend on the rise.
  • While risks exist, gig work offers alluring benefits like flexibility and variety.
  • Demographic, technological, and economic shifts point to the gig economy becoming a permanent fixture.

Whether an aspiring gig worker yourself or just observing this workforce evolution, understanding these statistics paints a vivid picture of where the future of work is headed. The gig economy shows no signs of slowing down.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.