WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SCORE, – www.score.org – the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, has gathered statistics on the growing freelance economy.

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34 percent of the U.S. workforce is freelance

34% of the U.S. workforce (54 million people) now consists of freelance workers – also known as independent contractors, consultants or entrepreneurs – who earn at least some of their income through self-employment. Online talent marketplaces, mobile apps and co-working spaces allow for efficient virtual collaboration. 69% of freelancers feel the internet and social media have expanded networking opportunities.

Freelance worker demographics

The ages of freelance workers vary widely. Of the total freelance population:

30% are Millennials (age 21-34)
33% are from Generation X (age 35-50)
29% are Baby Boomers (age 51-68)
8% are seniors (age 69+)

Benefits of freelancing

The reported benefits of independent employment revolve around freedom and flexibility. Specifically, freelancers report that:

61% like controlling their own schedules
58% enjoy the flexibility
54% like being their own boss
48% like doing what they love
38% appreciate the extra income