The UK recruiting firm Major Players surveyed over 1,000 creative, design and marketing freelance professionals in the UK last February. They found 72% of the respondents chose freelancing and only 28% ended up freelancing because they couldn't find a traditional job.
One of my favorite findings is one of the drawbacks cited by the respondents is "not being able to have blue Mondays and lazy Fridays." Despite having lived and worked in London for several years, I don't now what these are - although I can guess about "lazy Fridays".
The broader findings of this survey are similar to what we've found in our MBO Partners State of Independence research - which is most independent workers (freelancers, contractors, etc.) chose independent work and are highly satisfied with it.
We're crunching the data from this year's study right now, but a preview is satisfaction with independent work continues to be high.
We'll have more on the 2012 State of Independence study in the coming weeks.