Nearly half of the nation is side hustling, survey says

Is anybody able to concentrate on their real jobs anymore, now that everyone is side hustling? Perhaps earning some extra money on the side is a good idea in a country where a majority of people live paycheck to paycheck and 40% of Americans don’t have $400 in cash in case of an emergency.

According to a new survey of 2,500 people commissioned by Bankrate and carried out by YouGov, almost half the country (45%) has a side hustle – whether it’s walking dogs, driving Ubers, or selling stuff on eBay. And nearly the same percentage (43%) in full-time jobs side hustled.

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One in three said they needed that extra dough to get by. The average time spent on their side hustles weekly was about 12 hours.

So how have we become a nation of hustlers?

“We have seen income stagnation for quite some time,” says Alexandrea Ravenelle, an assistant professor at Mercy College. “And even though incomes are finally back to where they were before the Great Recession, there’s still a perception for a lot of people that their income is just not hitting their expenses. Even if incomes are going up, expenses seem to be going up even faster.”

Side jobs provide much-needed income, but they aren’t going to make anyone rich. Here’s the breakdown in what most people make:

  • 73% make $500 or less.
  • 12% make $501-1000.
  • Only 6% make over $2,000.

Why hustle?

Survey respondents gave three main reasons for taking a side gig.

Just over a third (34%) said they wanted disposable income. Another third (30%) needed extra cash for day-to-day living expenses. And 27% used the earnings to add to their savings.

Millennials in particular side hustle because they want to save: 31% of them are working extra to pad their savings, in comparison to 16% of Gen Xers and 18% of Baby Boomers. They are also the generation most likely to have a side hustle.

“Because Millennials experienced the Great Recession and saw their parents going through it, they probably are more aware than other generations about the importance of having a financial safety net,” Ravenelle says.

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