Survey Suggests Half of California's ‘Gig Economy’ Workers Struggle with Poverty
Survey Suggests Half of California's ‘Gig Economy’ Workers Struggle with Poverty

11 percent of the state’s workers participate in the gig economy.

Nearly half of California workers who participate in the so-called “gig economy” are struggling with poverty, according to a survey published Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute

The gig economy includes a broad collection of contract service jobs, including delivery and ride-share service such as TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft. In recent years, many foodservice franchises have turned to the gig economy to outsource delivery programs through services like Uber Eats and DoorDash.

According to the survey, more than one in 10 California workers reported having participating in the gig economy within the past year, and 48 percent of those workers are struggling with poverty.

The survey used two criteria to define poverty:

For the purposes of this study, respondents are classified as “working and struggling with poverty” if they meet two criteria: 1) They are currently employed either full or part-time or are unemployed but still seeking employment; and 2) They live in households that have an adjusted income that is 250% or less than the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, adapted for regional location in California.

According to its website, the Public Religion Research Institute is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.”

See the full survey results at