New Study Finds Freelancers Are Thriving In America

Freelancers in America continue to make strides with more than 56.7 million people spending more than one billion hours per week freelancing in 2018 according to a recent study conducted by Upwork and The Freelancer’s Union. Together, the two groups released their fifth annual Freelancing In America study where they surveyed 6,000 U.S. workers and found that the self-employed economy not only continues to grow, but thrive.

The study found that both full-time freelancers and full-time non-freelancers prioritize lifestyle over earnings but freelancers are more likely to receive it with 51% of freelancers surveyed stating no amount of money could get them to return to a traditional job.

The most surprising finding to me is that 93% of freelancers with a four-year degree said that additional skills training was useful to the work they do now, versus the only 79% who credited their college education. Freelancers continue to invest in personal growth with 70% of full-time freelancers participating in skills training during the past six months compared to only 49% of full-time non-freelancers.

Here are a few other notable takeaways from the study:

  • More than one in three Americans freelanced in 2018

  • More people are increasingly starting to freelance by choice rather than necessity

  • 64% of freelancers found work online in 2018, up 22 points since 2014

  • The number of full-time freelancers jumped to 28% in 2018 - 11 points higher than 2014

  • Young freelancers between 18-34 make up the majority of full-time freelance workers

  • Nearly 3 in 4 freelancers started freelancing in the last year

  • The amount of high earning freelancers making more than $75,000 per year jumped 15 points

Learn more freelance facts and review the entire study here: Freelancing in America.


AUDREY ADAIR IS THE FOUNDER OF ‘THE SCOPE’ AND A GLOBAL FREELANCE COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSIONAL. SHE STARTED ‘THE SCOPE’ TO PROVIDE RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY TO FREELANCERS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED. CONNECT WITH AUDREY ON INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE AND LINKEDIN.