What Are the Most Common Side Jobs in America?

August 22nd, 2020 by 
Woman holding lemonade, not a common side job anymore.

Whether you call it a side job, part time work, or a side hustle, Americans are an industrious bunch. How industrious? According to the 2017 Federal Reserve SHED, almost 31% of us work some sort of side job. Let's explore the most common side jobs in America.

Popular Side Jobs in America

By far, selling items online was the most popular side hustle.

An estimated 10.86% of all adults (and 35.31% of all adults who earned side money) sold something online. On the flip side, ride-sharing and renting out goods or property are very rare side jobs for Americans.

For both categories, only 1.64% of American adults participated in the previous month – roughly 4 million Americans did each.

Most popular side jobs in the US: What side jobs can you do?

 Percentage of American AdultsPercentage of American Part TimersNumber of Adults
Selling goods on-line through eBay,
Craigslist, or other websites.
House cleaning, house painting, yard work, or other property maintenance work6.72%21.91%16,472,505
Selling goods or services yourself at flea markets,garage sales, or other temporary physical locations6.46%21.06%15,834,655
Providing other personal services, such as running errands, helping people move, etc.5.63%18.35%13,797,203
Babysitting, child care services, dog walking, or house sitting5.61%18.29%13,750,125
Completing paid online tasks, such as on Amazon Services, Mechanical Turk, Fiverr, Task Rabbit, or YouTube.4.23%13.80%10,371,463
Selling goods at consignment shops or thrift Stores3.78%12.33%9,266,790
Any other paid activities that you have not yet mentioned (do not include taking GfK Surveys).3.75%12.23%9,194,248
Disabled adult or elder care services2.39%7.80%5,865,770
Other online paid activities (do not include taking GfK Surveys). 2.19%7.13%5,357,750
Renting out property online, such as your car, your place of residence, etc.1.64%5.35%4,025,313
Driving using a ride-sharing app such as Uber or Lyft.1.64%5.35%4,020,541

Want to see the above in a chart? We've got your back:

Most popular side jobs in America
Most popular side jobs in America in 2017.

Once Upon a Side Hustle in America

Surprised to see the current breakdown?

Particularly, now knowing that 11% of American adults sold online feels high (even though we ourselves fit that definition).The ride-sharing and property numbers are about on point though. They mesh well with the gig economy statistics we saw from the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this year.

As for ~ 31% of all American adults doing something on the side?

Yes, we can see it. But hey, you're here reading this site... perhaps we're a little biased here?



PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK is in his mid-30s and lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

Don't Quit Your Day Job...

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