Research Outline

Independent Consultants and Freelancers - Statistics


To find out the number of independent consultants and the number of freelancers in the United States and in the world and how many of them earn over $100,000 per year. This information will be used to determine the market size and demand for a new product.

Early Findings

Freelancers in the US

  • The sixth annual Freelancing in America: 2019 (FIA) survey conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union is one of the most comprehensive studies of the independent workforce in the US surveying over 6,000 US workers over the age of 18. According to this study, there are 57 million freelancers in the US.
  • This represents 35% of the US workforce.
  • Moreover, 45% of freelancers offer skilled services such as business consulting, IT, programming, and marketing.
  • As per PayPal's 2017 U.S. Freelancer Insights Report, only 5% of freelancers earned more than $100,000 per year.
  • Another recent study, The State of Independence in America (2019), by MBO Partners indicates that there were 41 million independent workers in the US in 2019. Of these, 15.3 million were full-time independents.
  • The study further indicates that nearly 3.14 million "full-time independents" in the US earn more than $100,000 per year. This represents around 20% of the total full-time independent workers.
  • A 2017 survey by indicates that 21% of independent workers in the US work as professional services consultants.
  • According to the BLS, there were 10.6 million independent contractors (including independent consultants and freelance workers) in the US in May 2017. This was the latest available information from the BLS.
  • The median weekly income of these independent contractors was $851 in 2017.

Summary of Findings

  • During this hour of research, we were able to provide information on the total number of freelancers in the US, their share in the US workforce, freelancers earning more than $100,000 per year, and freelancers who work as consultants.
  • Despite extensive research, we were unable to find the number of independent consultants in the world as well as independent consultants that are earning more than $100,000 per year in the US or across the globe. Hence, we assumed that this information is not available in the public domain.
  • We were also unable to find the total number of freelancers in the world. This information is also likely not available precompiled.