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Freelance Statistics (How Many Freelancers Are There?)

Are you searching for the latest and most insightful freelance statistics? Do you want to learn how many freelancers are there in the world?

If you’re a freelancer wanting to know more about the industry or plan on becoming one, this statistical exploration will do the trick.

We analyzed comprehensive data sets and conducted extensive research to provide a comprehensive overview of the freelance landscape.

You’ll learn about the industry, the demographics, the jobs, the pay rates, the freelance platforms and heaps more.

We also share which is the most popular freelancing field.

Are you ready? Let’s do this.

This post covers:

Freelance Statistics (Our Top Picks)

  • There are around 1.54 billion freelancers in the world
  • 70% of freelancers are the age of 35 (or younger)
  • Female freelancers, on average, earn 84% of men’s earnings
  • The gig economy is predicted to reach $455 billion in 2023
  • 70% of US small businesses have hired a freelancer
  • Google has more temps and contractors than full-time employees
  • The global average freelancer hourly rate is $21
  • The most popular freelancing field is web and graphic design
  • Nr. one beginner mistake is calculating a too-low hourly rate
  • 74% of freelancers don’t get paid on time

How Many Freelancers Are There?

1. There are approximately 1.54 billion freelancers in the world

When looking at the percentage of the total workforce in the world that’s self-employed by The World Bank, there are approximately 1.54 billion freelancers globally.

We helped ourselves with Statista’s report that around 3.32 billion people are employed worldwide.

Moreover, there are more self-employed men than women, but the difference is tiny.

Source: The World Bank, Statista #1

2. There will be nearly 87 million freelancers in the US by 2027

The gig world in the United States is growing yearly and is expected to make up nearly 51% of the total US force. There were around 59 million freelancers in the US, which is forecast to jump to 86.5 million.

Regarding gender, there are nearly 48% of male freelancers and 52% of female freelancers in the US. But when looking at the overall US workers, more men work than women.

Source: Statista #2

3. There are 18+ million people in Russia working as freelancers

The number of freelancers has also been growing in Russia for the past years and is expected to keep growing. There were more than 18 million freelancers in 2021, with a freelance market forecast to reach $102 billion by 2025 (as a reference, the market volume was $41 billion in 2020).

Source: Statista #3

4. The UK has around 4.4 million self-employed workers

In March 2023, there are around 4.4 million self-employed workers in the United Kingdom. While the self-employment rate steadily grew since 2000, it experienced a significant drop in 2020 (due to the pandemic) but is now slowly recovering. The UK has more male self-employed workers than female.

Source: Statista #4

5. Countries with the highest self-employment rate (of total employment)

Percentage of self-employedPercentage of self-emplyed
Central African Republic94.5%
South Sudan91.3%
Sierra Leone91.0%
Countries with the highest self-employment rate of total employment (2021)

Source: The World Bank

Freelancer Demographics Statistics

6. 70% of freelancers are the age of 35 (or younger)

It’s no surprise that the freelancing scene is young. Statistics show that 70% of surveyed freelancers are the age of 35 and 21% are the age of 25.

The percentage of Asian freelancers under 35 is 82%, while only 47% in North America.

Source: Payoneer #1

7. 47.1% of self-employed are male

While the data may vary from resource to resource, we’ve found that all state that there are more self-employed males than females.

According to The World Bank, over 47% of all male employees globally are self-employed men.

Source: The World Bank

8. 45.7% of self-employed are female

The global average self-employed females have a share of 45.7% of all female employees.

Source: The World Bank

9. Most freelancers in the US are white (76%)

In 2022, approximately 76% of freelance workers in the United States were white.

EthnicityPercentage of freelancers
Hispanic or Latino10%
African or African descent4%
Percentage of freelancers by ethnicity

Source: Statista #5

10. Female freelancers, on average, earn 84% of men’s earnings

Around the globe and across all fields, female freelancers averagely earn 84% of men’s earnings. The largest gender pay gap is in the finance and project management fields. But women earn more than men in marketing and web and graphic design.

As a reference, women globally earn an average of 64% of what men earn for the same or similar job/task.

Further reading:

Source: Payoneer #1

11. There are more women freelancers than ever

The women’s share of the freelance workforce is steadily (but slowly) growing. The percentage of female freelancers in 2015 was 22%, while in 2020, it was 24%.

The field and the country with the highest share of female freelancers are translation (50%) and the Philippines (62%).

Source: Payoneer #1

Freelance Industry Statistics

12. The gig economy is predicted to reach $455 billion in 2023

The freelancer economy, or the gig economy as some call it, is likely to grow to $455 billion in 2023, which is twice as much as in 2018.

Source: Statista #6

13. The global freelance platforms market size is to grow to $9.7 billion by 2028

In 2022, the global freelance platforms market size was valued at $4.5 billion but is expected to grow to $9.7 billion by 2028, expanding at 13.66% CAGR.

However, we found another resource stating that the market was valued at $5.1 billion in 2020 and is forecast to grow to $17.2 billion by 2030, growing at a 15.8% CAGR.

Source: Yahoo, Verified Market Research

14. The US is the fastest-growing country for freelancers earnings-wise

Out of the ten top countries for freelancers, the United States is seeing the fastest-growing earnings for freelancers, while Serbia is the lowest.

CountryFreelancer worker earnings growth
United States78%
United Kingdom59%
The top ten fastest-growing countries based on earnings (2019)

Source: Payoneer #2

15. 70% of US small businesses have hired a freelancer

The US small businesses are very open to hiring freelancers, which they have done in the past and plan to do in the future.

A whopping 70% of small businesses hired a freelancer (one or more) in the past, of which 81% reported they would hire a freelancer in the future.

Moreover, 83% of small businesses who hire freelancers frequently are satisfied with their work and contribution to the business.

Source: LinkedIn

16. 62% of businesses name “experience ” as the main reason for hiring a freelancer

The main reason (62%) small businesses hire a freelancer is the team’s lack of experience to complete a particular task. And the second most common reason is cost. 47% say hiring a freelancer is less expensive than hiring a person part- or full-time.

Source: LinkedIn

17. The larger the small business, the more freelancers it hires

51% of sole proprietors, 58% of companies with 2-20 employees and 66% of companies with 21-200 employees have plans to hire more freelancers in the future.

Furthermore, of around 30% of companies that currently don’t work with a freelancer or contractor, 61% say lack of perceived need is the top barrier, and 20% mention costs as the top reason for not hiring.

Source: LinkedIn

18. Google has more temps and contractors than full-time employees

In 2021, Google exceeded 150,000 temps and contractors working for the company, while its parent company, Alphabet, had 144,000 full-time employees.

Unfortunately, many temporary staff members were underpaid and not treated as they should be.

Source: The New York Times

19. The Philippines are the fastest-growing freelancing country

According to Payoneer’s 2020 report, the Philippines are the fastest-growing freelancing country, followed by India in second and Japan in third place.

CountryGrowth rate
Hong Kong79%
The ten fastest-growing countries (2020)

Source: Payoneer #3

20. 43% of global organizations that hire freelance agents save at least 20% in labor cost

A 2019 report found that 43% of global organizations save at least 20% (if not more) in labor costs due to hiring freelance agents.

In the Asia Pacific, 84% of companies hired freelancers to outsource the work.

Source: The Asean Post

Freelance Jobs Statistics

21. The global average freelancer hourly rate is $21

According to a 2020 Payoneer survey, the average global freelancer’s hourly rate is $21 ($2 higher than in 2018). This hourly rate is higher than the hourly average wage in most countries surveyed freelancers are from.

Source: Payoneer #1

22. Older experienced freelancers earn more than twice as much as their younger peers

Experience is the driving factor in the hourly pay rate, and age also seems to have a significant impact. The more experienced freelancers over 55 earn more than twice as much as their 18-24 peers.

For instance, the older freelancer may earn around $36/hour while the younger one $16/hour.

AgeShare of freelancersHourly rate
Share of freelancers and an hourly rate per age

Source: Payoneer #1

23. Those working exclusively as freelancers earn $3 more per hour than part-time freelancers

Across all age groups, the freelancers working as full-time freelancers earn an average of $22 hourly rate, while supplemental freelancers earn $19/hour.

Fun fact: Full-time freelancers also have a 0.3-point higher lifestyle satisfaction rate than supplemental freelancers.

Source: Payoneer #1

24. Freelancers earning $50K+ are more satisfied in their life

One of the biggest values of freelancing is the ability to create your own schedule and work from wherever you want. However, lifestyle satisfaction is still very closely correlated to income – so the higher the pay, the more satisfied freelancers are both income- and lifestyle-wise.

Source: Payoneer #1

25. Male freelancers earn the most in project management, women in sales and marketing

While male freelancers make more across most fields, women exceed men’s average pay rate in multimedia production, marketing and web and graphic design.

Project management$34$19
Multimedia production$25$26
Web and graphic design$19$20
Content writing$16$15
Customer support$15$14
Average hourly rate across multiple fields by gender

Source: Payoneer #1

The design and technology spaces are the most preferred areas for freelancing work. But freelancers aren’t too excited about sales, QA and finance.

FieldShare of respondents
Web and graphic design30%
Multimedia production8%
Content writing8%
Customer support2%
Project management2%
The most popular freelancing fields

You may also be interested in our web development statistics to discover how many web developers are there.

Source: Payoneer #1

It’s no secret that the most popular fields aren’t necessarily the best-paying ones. Why? Oversaturation.

Thus, web and graphic design pay considerably less than project management. See the table below.

FieldAverage hourly rate
Project management$28
Multimedia Production$25
Web & Graphic Design$19
Content Writing$15
Customer Support$15
Average hourly rate by freelancing field

Generally speaking, if you want to earn more, you might want to enter a less-popular freelancing field.

Source: Payoneer #1

28. Freelancers with a postgraduate degree earn the most

When it comes to education, those freelancers who have a postgraduate degree make the most. But do you need a degree to work as a freelancer? No.

EducationHourly rate
Postgraduate degree$24
High school graduation$22
Bachelor’s degree$19
Freelance hourly rate by education

Source: Payoneer #1

Freelancing Platforms Statistics

29. Upwork’s global revenue in 2022 was $618 million

Upwork is one of the leading freelancer platforms and one of the largest in total global revenue, hitting over $600 million in 2022.

2022$618 million
2021$503 million
2020$374 million
2019$301 million
2018$253 million
2017$203 million
2016$164 million
Upwork’s revenue over the years

Source: Statista #7

30. Upwork’s most in-demand skills are web design, social media marketing and customer service

Upwork revealed its most in-demand skills in 2022 for technology, marketing and customer service. Here’s a recap of the top five in each segment:

Upwork’s top 5 most in-demand tech skills:

  • Web design
  • WordPress
  • Web programming
  • JavaScript
  • CSS

Upwork’s top 5 most in-demand marketing skills:

  • Social media marketing
  • Lead generation
  • Facebook
  • SEO
  • B2B marketing

Upwork’s top 5 most in-demand customer service skills:

  • Customer service
  • Customer support
  • Email communication
  • Phone support
  • Email support

Source: Upwork

31. Fiverr’s 2022 revenue was $337 million

At a steady increase of 13.3% year over year, Fiverr’s total revenue in 2022 was $337.4 million. The revenue forecast for 2023 is between $350 and $365 million.

Source: Colorlib

32.’s 2022 revenue was $55+ million

According to Craft,’s yearly revenue in 2022 was $55.7 million (it has a market cap of $101.8 million), a slight decrease from 2021 ($57.4 million).

Source: Craft

33. One-third of freelancers find work through freelance platforms

According to statistics on technology platforms for freelancers, 33% of freelancers find work online through any of the 170+ freelance platforms.

Source: Hugo Cespedes

Other Freelance Stats

34. 83% of freelancers work from home

While co-working spaces are popping up everywhere, 83% of freelancers still prefer working at home (me, too!).

Two main reasons for freelancers’ happy lives are 1) working from home and 2) flexible working hours. On the flip side, the two major complaints are the difficulty of getting enough work and sustaining a sufficient income stream.

Source: Payoneer #1

35. The main reason to go freelance is independence

79% of freelancers say that choosing the freelancing life is due to independence, self-employment and being their own bosses.

Reasons to go freelanceShare of respondents
Independence, self-employment, be my own boss79%
Better opportunities for higher income48%
Flexible working hours42%
Variety of tasks41%
Professional challenge28%
The five main reasons to go freelance

When it comes to the benefits of freelancing, 73% name independence, 66% freedom to decide and 57% time management.

Source: FreelancerMap

36. The main freelance challenge is project acquisition

Even though you are “your own boss” as a freelancer, you still need to find new projects, which is one of the biggest challenges of freelancers.

Freelance challengesShare of respondents
Project acquisition52%
Irregular income47%
Late payments36%
Unpaid vacation36%
Contract negotiations22%
Time management16%
The seven most common freelance challenges

Project acquisition is also the most significant disadvantage for 52% of freelancers, followed by irregular income (47%) and late payments (36%).

Source: FreelancerMap

37. Nr. one beginner mistake is calculating a too-low hourly rate

Learn from the mistakes of others so that you can progress in life much faster. And the same goes for your freelancing career.

FreelancerMap’s survey found the eight most common beginner mistakes freelancers make, so you can avoid making them yourself.

Beginner mistakeShare of respondents
Hourly rate too low57%
Time for project acquisition neglected34%
Enjoyed just a few days off28%
Not enough money put aside26%
Too little time planned for family and friends24%
Accounting carried out on my own21%
Too tolerant with late payments19%
Accepted too many projects12%
The eight most common freelancer beginner mistakes

Source: FreelancerMap

38. The average freelancer retires at the age of 64

The average freelancer’s retirement age is 64. Also, $1,251 is the average monthly savings of freelancers for future retirement.

However, as a freelancer (and if you really love what you do), you can be one for as long as you want – nope, you don’t have to retire.

Source: FreelancerMap

39. Only 2% of freelancers don’t want to continue as freelancers

Nearly 90% of freelancers said they want to keep working freelance. A small percentage aren’t sure, while another 2% said they would switch to full-time employment for an appropriate salary.

And when asked if they’d start over, and if they’d still choose to be a freelancer, 89% said they would.

Source: FreelancerMap

40. 74% of freelancers don’t get paid on time

Unfortunately, a large percentage of freelancers don’t get paid on time. Only 20% get paid in one day, while 16% need to wait for two months or more, even with a “remit-by” date.

Even more shocking is that nearly 60% of freelancers are owed $50,000 or more for already completed work.

Source: Independent Economy Council

41. Remote workers are almost 60% more productive

Those working from home report 57% more productive, while only 17% say less productive.

Although remote workers and freelancers shouldn’t be thrown into the same bucket, I’d like to share our extensive remote work statistics.

Source: TrustRadius


The statistics presented in this article provide a compelling snapshot of the freelance landscape, highlighting the growing influence of freelancing in the modern workforce.

As the freelance revolution continues to reshape the way we work, embracing the opportunities it presents is crucial while addressing the challenges faced by this dynamic community.

By leveraging data and understanding the statistical dynamics, we can navigate the freelance world with informed decisions and pave the way for a thriving future of work.

Are you a freelancer? Or are you a business owner hiring freelancers? What’s your number one benefit for freelancing?

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Rok is a professional content creator, WordPress developer and enthusiastic marketer who spends most of his day behind the screen, working on ULTIDA, client projects and listening to black metal. But he never misses a daily workout to get the blood flow going.

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