The Rise of Side Hustles for Generation Z and Millennials
The Cost of Living Leaves Workers Hustling Harder than Ever
As the cost of living continues to outpace stagnant wages, it has become increasingly common for workers to have a “side hustle” to make ends meet. Many Americans, even those earning six-figures, feel like they are living paycheck to paycheck. The pandemic has made many people denounce “hustle culture,” but younger workers have been adding on part-time jobs to deal with the high cost of living.
The Growing Popularity of Side Hustles
According to a recent Bankrate survey of 2,500-plus adults, as many as two in five adults in the U.S. have a side hustle. The same survey found that 53% of Gen Zers and half of millennials have one, compared to only 40% of Gen Xers and 24% of baby boomers.
Younger workers are more likely to need a side hustle, considering that the cost of living has been their top concern and stressor for the past two years. Millennials, in particular, have been struggling to keep their heads above water for years after hopping around a rocky post-Great Recession job market, dealing with inordinate student debt, and shopping around a difficult housing market.
Why Do Workers Have Side Hustles?
Most Bankrate respondents (33%) said they need the job to afford “regular living expenses,” while 27% said it helps with “discretionary spending.” A quarter using the extra cash from the side gigs for savings, and 12% are using it to repay debt.
Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman said, “Side hustles have become more common, but like so many things in this inflationary environment, people are working harder but not necessarily getting ahead. Side hustlers are much more likely to view this extra income as essential, rather than a passion project or a way to get ahead financially.”
How Much Do Side Hustlers Make?
The average side hustler makes $810 monthly, according to Bankrate. Millennials make the most at an average of $1,022 monthly, while Gen Zers tend to make $753. However, 28% of side hustlers make just between $1 to $50 monthly, enough to go see a Star War but not much else.
Who Needs Side Hustles the Most?
Naturally, people who have insufficient salaries from their main job are more likely to need a side hustle. Nearly half (42%) of employees living in a low-income household of less than $50,000 say that they need side gig income for daily expenses, greater than any other demographic surveyed. However, households earning over $100,000 are most likely to have a side hustle but use their extra income for discretionary spending.
The Future of Side Hustles
As minimum wages stay where they are, side hustles will remain a necessity for many Americans. Almost one-third of U.S. workers with side hustles (28%) say that they’ll likely always need an extra gig to ensure they’re making ends meet.
While side hustles have become more common, workers are working harder but not necessarily getting ahead financially. Younger workers have been adding on part-time jobs to deal with the high cost of living, with nearly half of low-income households surveyed saying that they need side gig income. As long as the cost of living continues to outpace stagnant wages, side hustles will remain a necessity for many Americans.