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The State of Independence in America

What is it measuring?

The number of workers with independent arrangements, including consultants, freelancers, contractors, temporary, and on-call workers. It also asks about their experiences and satisfaction.

What does it tell us?

In 2020, 38.2 million adult Americans overall participated in independent arrangements, which represents about 23.9 percent of the workforce. This reflects a decline from about 25.2 The 2020 numbers, affected by economic challenges and disruptions due to the pandemic, deviated from the long-term trends of growth observed from 2011-2019.

How is it collected?

Through an online survey administered by Emergent Research and Rockbridge Associates, with 3,687 respondents in 2020. Responses were weighted demographically to represent the population. 2020 was the tenth year the State of Independence survey has been administered.

Who collects it?

MBO Partners, a business services company marketed toward independent professionals, contracts Emergent Research and Rockbridge Associates to conduct the annual survey.


Online surveys are unlikely to be representative of the population, with educated and higher-income workers likely to be overrepresented. Although many consider full-time to mean 40 hours per week, this survey counts anything above 15 hours per week as full-time.

How to access this data?

Privately held by MBO Partners


The State of Independence in America Report; 2020; Emergent Research; MBO Partners;