Here’s How Big the Gig Economy Really Is

January 6, 2016, 10:40 PM UTC
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The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is displayed on the window of a vehicle after dropping off a passenger at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Uber Technologies Inc. investors are betting the five-year-old car-booking app is more valuable than Twitter Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Whether you call it the freelance, sharing, or gig economy, one thing has become clear over the past several years—the way we work is changing.

Time, a sister publication to Fortune, teamed up with strategic communications and global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative to conduct a first-of-its kind poll to find out exactly how far reaching the gig economy has become. To start, 44% of U.S. adults have tried their hand at it in one way or another, whether booking a room on sites like AirBnb or driving for Uber or ordering groceries via sites like Instacart. In sheer number terms, that’s more than 90 million people across the U.S. whose lives are directly impacted by this technological and workplace shift.

More importantly, the poll found that 22% of American adults—some 45 million people—had picked up gig work, either by offering goods or services. That’s could have wide-reaching consequences. While these jobs offer more flexibility and greater freedom, they often lack security and benefits. Take a look at the infographic put together by Time below to see the full scope of the gig economy—and read more about the poll’s insights in the publication’s breakdown.


The poll, which was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, talked with 3,000 people in November to uncover the insights that formed the basis of the above analysis.