Chart showing: Number of self-employed in the US: March 2023–March 2024

How Many Americans Are Self-Employed?

The benefits of being self-employed are clear—work flexibility, not having to answer to a boss, getting to choose the work you want to do, and more.

If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed worker in the US, it helps to get an overview of the trends and statistics about self-employment—more specifically, understand how many Americans are self-employed.

Number of self-employed people in the US: June 2023–June 2024

Here’s the number of people who are self-employed over the past 12 months.


Number of self-employed in the US

Jun 2023

9.60 million

Jul 2023

9.51 million

Aug 2023

9.52 million

Sep 2023

9.74 million

Oct 2023

9.66 million

Nov 2023

9.72 million

Dec 2023

10.01 million

Jan 2024

9.77 million

Feb 2024

10.03 million

Mar 2024

10.18 million

Apr 2024

9.95 million

May 2024

10.07 million

Jun 2024

9.68 million

According to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of June 2024, the number of self-employed people in the US is 9.68 million. This represents a 3.8% decrease from the previous month and a 0.9% annual increase. It is also the lowest number recorded so far in 2024.

The number of self-employed in the US has been fluctuating over the past year. In June 2023, there were 9.6 million self-employed. This fell in July 2023, to 9.51 million, before increases the following two months brought the number of self-employed people back up to 9.74 million. This was followed by more months of fluctuations, as the number of self-employed in the US fell to 9.66 million in October, before rising to 9.72 the following month. It closed the year out at just over 10 million self-employed people in December.

In 2023, the average number of self-employed in the US per month was 9.73 million—a 1.45% fall from the previous year’s 9.87 million.

COVID-19 pandemic impact on the number of self-employed people in the US

In 2020, the number of self-employed in the US tumbled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The lowest number recorded was in April 2020. At 8.25 million, this was an 11% year-over-year decrease, and the first time the number of self-employed workers in the US fell below 9 million in at least seven years.

The decline in the number of self-employed in the US was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in work losses for many of the self-employed. This is no surprise, as self-employed workers are among the most vulnerable during economic downturns and tend to be the first ones to be made redundant.

According to the BLS, self-employed workers were “much more likely” to have lost work as a result of the recession caused by the pandemic than workers in the private and government sectors. 

This was most evident in May 2020, during which 42.2% of self-employed workers said they weren’t able to work at some point in the past month as a result of the pandemic. 

In July 2021, the number of self-employed in the US hit a record 10.3 million. This coincided with the rebound the US economy experienced in 2021, during which it grew 5.7%.

Number of self-employed people: ranked by cities

City, state

Number of self-employed people

Percentage of total population

1. New York, NY



2. Los Angeles, CA



3. Chicago, IL



4. Houston, TX



5. Phoenix, AZ



6. Dallas, TX



7. San Diego, CA



8. San Antonio, TX



9. Austin, TX



10. Nashville, TN



A list sorting the number of self-employed people by city shows that New York City currently tops the chart. As of 2023, the Big Apple was home to more than 379,000 self-employed individuals, accounting for 10% of the city’s population.

Los Angeles follows in second place, with close to 300,000 self-employed people. Chicago and Houston rank next, each with around 116,000. These are the only four US cities that have more than 100,000 self-employed individuals. Phoenix completes the top five cities with the largest number of self-employed people.

It is also worth noting that more than half of the cities on this top 10 list are located in California and Texas, the two states with the highest number of small businesses.

Self-employed people in the US: FAQs

1. How many Americans are self-employed?

As of June 2024, 9.68 million Americans are self-employed.

2. What is the median annual income for self-employed Americans?

According to a recent survey, in 2023, the average income for self-employed people across the US was $54,232.

3. What is the percentage of self-employed people in the workforce?

Self-employed individuals make up 10.1% of the total US workforce. In other words, more than one in 10 workers in the country is self-employed.

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