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Guest blog written by Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, the global freelancing platform

The appeal of the freelance lifestyle is so powerful that half of freelancers say they wouldn’t quit freelancing to take a traditional job — no matter how much it paid. That passion for the freelance lifestyle is just one of the insights from the second annual “Freelancing in America” survey, a study of the U.S. independent workforce sponsored by Upwork in partnership with Freelancers Union.


This survey of more than 7,000 Americans is the most comprehensive sizing of the U.S. freelance workforce. Launched last year to provide data that quantified the number of Americans that do freelance work, it also set out to answer why people are choosing to freelance and what the outlook is for freelancing in America. As noted in an article about the study on Fast Company, “… freelancer marketplace Upwork estimated that there are 53 million freelancers in the U.S…. No wonder the polite question to ask these days is not ‘Where do you work?’ but ‘What are you working on?’”


This year’s study found there are now an additional 700,000 freelancers due to growth of the overall U.S. workforce, bringing the total number of Americans who freelance to 53.7 million. Beyond sizing the ranks of freelance professionals who now account for 1 in 3 American workers, the study provides insights into why people choose to freelance and the outlook for this way of working:

  • An increasing number of freelancers (60%) are starting more by choice instead of necessity, up from 53 percent last year, driven primarily by flexibility
  • Three of four non-freelancers are open to freelancing, it’s just a matter of being able to find work. That’s where online marketplaces like Upwork come in: We’re empowering freelancers by making it easier to find projects. In fact, more than half of freelancers (51%) have obtained a freelance project online.

See the full survey results here and follow the Upwork blog to keep up with new trends in the freelance economy.