As part of the MBO Partners State of Independence study a national, statistically significant survey of adult (ages 21+) Americans is conducted. One of the questions asked is:
"How likely is it that you will be an independent worker (without a permanent employment arrangement) or own your own business in the next 24 months?"
Earlier in the survey the term independent worker is defined to include freelancing, temping, self-employment, etc.
As you can see from the chart below, 14% responded probably/definitely in 2011 and 13% responded probably/definitely in 2012. This projects out to about 26-28 million Americans saying each year they probably or definitely will become independent in the the next 24 months.
It's important to note that aspirational questions like this usually result in much higher positive response rates than actually happen. We're forecasting that the number of independent workers will grow by about 3-5 million over the next 2-3 years.
But these numbers tell us that many Americans see independent work as a viable alternative to traditional employment and a path they are aware of and considering.