How many Uber drivers are there? A lot—460,000 as of the end of 2015 (defined as those who have provided four or more Uber trips in the past month). How much do they make? They earn an average of $19/hour. Why do they drive? They partner with Uber not only to earn extra money (91 percent) but also to have more flexibility in balancing work and family (85 percent). Those are just a few of the findings presented in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by Uber's Jonathan V. Hall and Princeton economist Alan B. Krueger.
Analyzing Uber's administrative records and two surveys of drivers, Hall and Krueger examine the characteristics of the rapidly growing ranks of Americans who have partnered with Uber. The authors offer this eyebrow-raising perspective on Uber's rapid growth: "The number of active Uber driver-partners approximately doubled every six months from the middle of 2012 to the end of 2015. At this growth rate, every American would be an Uber driver within five years."
Why are we so eager to drive for Uber? In a word, flexibility. The great majority of drivers say Uber has made their lives better by giving them more control over their schedule. Most drivers work only 1 to 15 hours a week (two-thirds of drivers have another full- or part-time job), and their hours vary greatly from week to week. Fully 65 percent of drivers report driving 25 percent more or 25 percent less in the current week than they drove in the previous week.
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber's Driver-Partners in the United States, Working Paper #22843 ($5)