Self-Employment Statistics: Demographics and COVID-19

Self-Employment Statistics: Demographics and COVID-19

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The latest self-employment statistics indicate that more and more people decide to abandon traditional employment and work independently.

Being your own boss can be a great way to round out your career and improve your specific talents and interests. It also allows you to set your schedule and workplace expectations.

Did you know that one in two self-employed individuals are highly satisfied with their current job? Let’s dive into the latest statistics to help you decide if self-employment is the right thing for you.

Top Self-Employment Stats: Editor’s Choice

Self-Employment: Before and Amid COVID-19


1. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 9.548 million self-employed people in the US.

In April 2020, the self-employment rate in the US fell 12.8% from the previous month to 8.247 million, implying a 10.86% year-over-year decrease.

The figures from 2021 are a massive improvement, but it is evident that the coronavirus pandemic hit this group of workers pretty hard.

2. According to self-employment statistics in 2020, the number of self-employed people in the US increased by 12.7%.

The US Census Bureau recently surveyed the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on American households.

As reported, the number of self-employed Americans has increased from 13.5 million to 15.2 million over the 10 weeks of the conduction of the survey.

3. Recent self-employment facts reveal that seven out of ten workers worldwide are self-employed.

Self-employment can be seen as a strategy for those who cannot find any other means of earning an income. Also, it is a result of an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to work on their own.

As research suggests, top self-employed businesses are freelance writing, application development, social media marketing, vlogging, and real estate.

4. FreshBooks survey shows that 96% of self-employed Americans have no desire to return to a “regular job.”

Many self-employed professionals said that working for themselves provided a liberating opportunity to change their career. However, many individuals choose to work in the same field with the same clients or their former company.

5. Self-employment statistics show that 44 million US workers were self-employed at some point during 2019.

Various factors such as low wages and continuous rise in housing and education costs increased the growth of self-employment before the pandemic.

On the other hand, technology has made it easier than ever to run a freelance business.

6. Part-time and self-employed workers represent one-third of the US workforce.

Unsurprisingly, part-time self-employment jobs are a popular option—here’s why. Enterprises that begin working part-time before transferring to full-time tend to last longer.

However, before setting up your own business on a part-time basis, you need to consider how much money and time you want to invest, how long it will likely take you to reach your goal, etc.

7. The percentage of self-employed in the US has grown to 30–40% of the workforce.

A significant shift occurred in the American workforce in recent years—tens of millions of workers seemed ready to try their luck in the self-employment business.

Consequently, the majority of self-employed say they’re less stressed, have more work-life balance, make more money, and are healthier than in a traditional job.

8. Self-employment statistics in the United States reveal that 55% of self-employed professionals experienced less stress.

Transitioning from traditional to self-employment has given millions of Americans the opportunity to work differently. The analysis shows that a better work-life balance makes the reality for most self-employed professionals overwhelmingly positive.

As a result, they are traveling more, spending more time outdoors, and are healthier compared to workers in traditional jobs.


Many people are starting to realize the potential of building their own business and being the master of their working univerzum. In some countries like the United States, self-employed groups represent a broad segment of the US economy.

9. According to the BLS, an estimated 55% of real-estate brokers in the US are self-employed.

Real-estate brokers rank as one of the best-paid self-employed jobs—and for a valid reason.

The highest-rated jobs for self-employed individuals are in the real estate industry, including real estate and property managers, which topped former rankings.

10. As of Apr 11, 2021, the average self-employment income in the United States is $83,792 a year.

When calculated, this income represents approximately $40.28/hr, $1,611/wk, or $6,983/mo. According to ZipRecruiter, most salaries for self-employed people currently range between $41,000 and $89,000, with top earners making $152,500 annually across the United States.

Understandably, the average self-employed income varies greatly (by as much as $48,000), suggesting that the opportunities for advancement and increased pay rise are determined according to skill level, location, and years of experience.

11. Self-employment by age data shows that 13% of individuals in the US aged 75–79 are self-employed.

The inadequate retirement savings and the resulting interest are encouraging the elderly to pursue self-employment.

The need to connect with others or pursue a hobby is another notable factor contributing to this high rate of self-employment amongst more senior individuals.

12. Statistics of self-employment taxes show a $5,100 increase in the earning amount subject to Social Security taxes in 2021.

Self-employment taxes primarily consist of Social Security and Medicare taxes for self-employed individuals.

Clearly, the self-employment tax rules apply no matter how old you are, and you have to deduct this tax on your own.

13. According to self-employment statistics, independent contractors represent 15% of all workers aged 55–59.

Independent contractors are a subset of “the self-employed,” including independent contractors, small business owners, and part-time hobby or craft merchants.

Considering that independent contractors shift with age, they are the largest group of self-employed workers.

14. Self-employment and disability statistics show that 10.3% of workers with a disability in the US were self-employed in 2020.

Self-employment can be an excellent opportunity for people with disabilities to realize their ambitions and become financially independent.

The US Job Accommodation Network offers information on a case-by-case basis about self-employment and disability-specific programs specifically for disabled veterans.

15. Self-employment income statistics indicate that 22% of self-employed professionals have multiple revenue streams.

When you’re self-employed, increasing business income is a constant effort. However, it’s possible to increase your revenue dramatically by creating multiple income sources.

Some of the best ways to increase your income are starting a business blog, selling related products, real estate investment trusts, and peer-to-peer lending.

Federal Self-Employment Statistics


The popularity, cost-effectiveness, and the number of self-employed people differ in different parts of the US. Find out what statistics about self-employment indicate for particular countries.

16. The office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein reveals that there are an estimated two million self-employed people in California.

A self-employed individual who made a profit of $400 or more had to pay 15.3% self-employment tax. The California self-employment tax in 2020 consists of two different calculations.

The first is the 12.4% Social Security amount paid on a set amount, which in 2020 was the first $137,700 of your net earnings. The second payment to Medicare is 2.9%, applied against all your combined net earnings. Self-employed people are due to pay California tax quarterly.

17. Self-employment statistics in Kansas indicate that 2,400 small businesses received advising services from the Kansas SBDC.

Starting a business can be challenging, but Kansas Small Business Development Center counseling services are excellent for new entrepreneurs. This center gives much-needed support to people with already existing businesses or on the path to self-employment.

18. According to data on self-employed unemployment in Texas, more than 619,000 independent contractors received benefits under the coronavirus relief package.

Self-employed people and independent contractors don’t typically have guaranteed wages, sick pay, or company-supported healthcare. In addition to that, they are unqualified for state unemployment benefits.

Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, such workers were more vulnerable than ever, which resulted in 315,000 gig workers or independent contractors losing their unemployment aid in Texas.

Self-Employment Statistics: The Takeaway

More people choose to become self-employed for various reasons like having more flexibility, autonomy, control over their life and work, or supplementing their income.

The self-employment data points out that the share of self-employed workers rose markedly with age and higher education during recent years despite high self-employed tax rates in the period up to 2020.

However, in 2020 the COVID-19 crisis significantly impacted these trends. Most self-employed professionals lost jobs due to the pandemic, and traditional workers abandoned their transition to self-employment plans.

Still, we may be witnessing a slight postponement of the inevitable influence the self-employed workforce will make on the global economy in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of the world is self-employed?


According to the International Labour Organization, 48.48% of employed people around the world are self-employed. 

A closer look at the global state of self-employment reveals that there is, in fact, an inverse correlation between the proportion of workers that are self-employed and the GDP of their countries. 

According to the World Bank, the top three countries with the highest rate of self-employment are Niger, Central African Republic, and Chad.

Are self-employed people part of the labor force?


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force includes all people aged 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed. 

Moreover, according to their criteria, self-employed people are part of the labor force under the employed category if they worked at least one hour in their own business, profession, trade, or farm during the Current Population Survey (CPS) week. 

The self-employed individual must receive a wage or salary, profits or fees, or payment in kind.

How many millennials are self-employed?


Millennials’ specific career goals and expectations make it difficult for them to find the right job in the prevailing labor market. With job security pretty shaky and wages becoming stagnant, the millennial generation is flocking to self-employment. 

Millennials come straight out of the education system and are in high demand in the digital sector. The last accessible data on this topic specifies that roughly a third of Americans in the labor force (35%, or 56 million) are millennials.

How many self-employed people are there in the United States?


The latest figures by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal there are 9.548 million self-employed people in the US. 

The growth of self-employment before the crisis was encouraged by several factors, and many traditional workers were motivated to look for additional ways to earn income. 

Meanwhile, the pandemic has brought insecurity to every type of business, and the number of self-employed people decreased.

How many self-employed people are there in the US in 2022?


There were 8.247 million self-employed workers in the US, which meant a 10.86% year-over-year decrease. This was the first time the number of self-employed workers in the US fell below nine million in more than 10 years. Self-employment data show that self-employed workers are among the most vulnerable during economic downturns and tend to be the first ones to be made redundant as businesses scale back to cut costs.

What was the self-employment tax rate for 2020?


For the 2020 tax year, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. Medicare represents 2.9% of this tax, and Social Security represents 12.4% of it. Reaching a certain income threshold, $137,700 for 2020, means you won’t have to pay Social Security taxes above that amount. 

However, you’ll have to pay Medicare taxes on all of your earnings since there’s no wage base limit. If your income is above a specific limitation, you’ll have to pay additional Medicare taxes.

What percent of all workers in the United States are self-employed?


The sudden downturn in the economy, due to the COVID-19 crisis, has changed the work situation of many self-employed people. The latest self-employment statistics reveal that there were 6.32% self-employed workers in the United States in the first half of 2021. This data represents 0.92% more than in December 2020 and a 0.56% year-over-year decrease. 

Most of these workers are independent contractors who have left their traditional job because it didn’t offer much compensation. Since 1980, employers have been reducing traditional employee benefits due to the increasing healthcare costs and slow productivity. This made workers search for additional ways of income.

Sources

BLS, BLS, Business News Daily, Capradio, CNBC, FHSU, Forbes, FreshBooks, FreshBooks, Harvard Business Review, ILO, NBER, Small Business Labs, The Texas Tribune, USA Today, ZipRecruiter