Report finds nearly 45,000 self-employed workers in Grand Rapids metro

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A new report by Volusion found the Grand Rapids metro area is home to almost 45,000 self-employed workers, which is 9.1% of its total workforce.

The report looked at the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of self-employed residents. Self-employed workers do not have the same type of job protections as other workers, leaving them especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data for Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro area:

  • Percentage of workers who are self-employed: 9.1% (9.7% nationally)
  • Total self-employed workers: 44,923 (15,372,140 nationally)
  • Median income for self-employed workers: $56,000 full time/$42,000 all (nationally: $50,000 full time/$38,500 all)
  • Median income for all workers: $49,000 full time/$38,000 all (nationally: $50,000 full time/$40,000 all)

The Grand Rapids metro ranked No. 46 out of 85 midsized cities surveyed. Comparatively, Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida, had the highest percentage of self-employed workers for midsized cities at 18.3%. At the bottom of the list was Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia-South Carolina at 5.7%

The self-employed, which for the purpose of the analysis includes adults who operate either incorporated or unincorporated businesses, are represented in every industry sector except public administration.

Other services — a broad industry sector that includes, car repairs, barbershops, salons, dry cleaning, pet care services and more — has the largest share of self-employed workers at nearly 26%.

Both the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining industry and the construction industry have high rates of self-employment, at 24% and 23% respectively.


To find the locations with the most self-employed workers, researchers at Volusion used data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the share of workers who are self-employed. Researchers also looked at the total number of self-employed workers, the median income for self-employed workers and the median income for all workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size. Small metros contain 100,000-349,999 residents, midsize metros contain 350,000-999,999 residents and large metros contain 1,000,000 residents or more.

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