Uber founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp formed the idea for their app in 2008, when they couldn’t get a cab on a cold night.
They thought that finding a ride should be more simple, and created an app designed to connect riders with drivers with the push of a button.
Since Uber’s launch out of San Francisco in 2009, the rideshare concept has seen rapid growth around the globe.
Today, it’s common to see rideshare drivers on the road in thousands of cities, with 10 billion Uber trips completed worldwide.
With the changes 2020 brought to the economy and workforce, Uber has seen a significant shift in supply and demand.
These changes are likely to have a considerable impact on Uber and how many Uber drivers there are on the roads.
This article will provide insight into the number of Uber drivers in 2022 and how this number was affected by the pandemic and other recent events.
Table Of Contents
- How Many Uber Drivers Are There in the United States?
- Which State Has the Most Uber Drivers?
- How Many Uber Drivers Are There in the World?
- How Many Female Uber Drivers are There?
- Uber Driver vs. Lyft Driver Count
- The Problem with Driver Churn
- Uber’s Global Footprint
- Uber’s Usage Statistics
- Ridester’s Take
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Uber Drivers Are There in the United States?
The number of Americans who use ridesharing apps has seen a dramatic increase in recent years.
As of 2019, 36% of US adults stated that they’d used a ride-hailing app like Uber or Lyft.
While Uber has an extensive global presence, its services are most popular and widely available in the US.
This prevalence creates a vast market for gig workers looking for supplemental income.
As the US is getting back to commuting and traveling, the demand for Uber rides and rideshare drivers will only continue to surge.
Today, there are approximately one million Uber drivers in the US providing rides and mobility to customers.
Which State Has the Most Uber Drivers?
Location plays a massive role in the presence of Uber drivers.
In large cities with a reliance on public transportation, there is an elevated demand for Uber and Lyft drivers.
With a reported 209,000 drivers per quarter as of 2020, California has one of the highest prevalence of Uber drivers.
New York is another prominent spot for Uber drivers and has 80,000 drivers in New York City alone.
Five cities in particular – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and São Paulo – have an exceptionally high number of Uber bookings.
These cities make up almost a quarter of all of Uber’s bookings.
How Many Uber Drivers Are There in the World?
While Uber is most commonly available in the United States, this platform is used all around the world and can be found in over 10,000 cities.
The number of Uber drivers surged as the company became more and more well-known on a global scale.
Today, there are around 3.9 million total Uber drivers around the world.
How Many Female Uber Drivers are There?
Women gig workers have been credited with some of the significant growth of the gig economy.
Women make up 46% of the independent contracting workforce, a 33% increase from 2017.
The gender ratio for Uber drivers skews more towards male drivers, with female Uber drivers making up 14% of drivers and being recruited at much slower rates.
Uber Driver vs. Lyft Driver Count
Lyft currently has more than 1.4 million drivers in the United States and Toronto.
Based on this count, Lyft likely has more drivers in the United States than Uber — which, again, has 750,000 U.S. drivers.
This is because it’s unlikely that Lyft has 650,000 drivers in one city (Toronto) alone.
That said, Uber actually might be a better opportunity for you in most shared U.S. markets.
Combined with its significantly higher market share, Uber’s smaller driver base means more opportunities to get back-to-back requests and earn with surge, since demand is more likely to exceed supply by a greater amount.
Of course, the total amount of Lyft and Uber drivers, when combined, is likely much lower in the markets the rideshare companies share.
Many drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft to maximize their earnings, so there may not actually be more than 2 million rideshare drivers to compete with in the U.S. and Toronto.
The Problem with Driver Churn
The gig economy and rideshare services have been experiencing major problems with driver churn even before the Coronavirus pandemic.
Under Uber’s business model, drivers are independent contractors as opposed to employees.
As independent contractors, they aren’t entitled to any benefits and have to cover expenses such as gas and insurance themselves.
The flexibility of driving for Uber often draws people looking to earn a supplemental income or make some extra money while unemployed.
However, as driver’s circumstances change, they often return to other means of income.
This use of driving gigs for additional income results in a high turnover rate for rideshare apps and similar side hustle jobs.
How Many Uber Drivers Quit Per Year?
The high turnover rate is one of the most significant issues that Uber and other rideshare apps face with drivers, both before COVID-19 and now.
Every year, a vast percentage of new Uber drivers quit and move on to other jobs.
Only 3% of drivers who signed up to drive for Uber are still driving with them a year later.
Pre-COVID Driver Churn
This high turnover for Uber drivers was a concern long before the start of the pandemic.
The nature of independent contractor gigs themselves makes them especially susceptible to poor driver retention.
Many drivers find other side gigs or are only planning on driving until they land a more stable job.
Dissatisfaction with the job is another critical factor driving the turnover rate.
Former drivers cite limited pay and reward, bad experiences with riders, high additional expenses, and driving burnout as the top reasons why they leave Uber.
Uber and Lyft driver turnover hit abnormally high rates in 2019 – just months before the pandemic created even more challenges relating to driver churn.
Pandemic-Related Driver Churn
With the outbreak of COVID-19, Uber faced significant lows in the number of users.
Demand decreased as people stopped traveling, worked from home, and avoided social gatherings.
This decline in the need for transportation caused a significant drop in Uber drivers.
In April of 2020, Uber and Lyft had lost 60% of their drivers compared to January 2020.
Along with the pre-pandemic grievances, drivers also now faced concerns about contracting and spreading the virus.
Many decided their driving income wasn’t worth the risk, given the lack of opportunities for trips.
This discontent was worsened in November of 2020 by the approval of Proposition 22 in California.
This measure cemented Uber’s business model that classified drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.
Now, as more people are getting vaccinated and returning to normal life, many drivers are not willing to return, leading to a shortage of drivers and increased recruitment efforts from Uber.
These efforts include a $250 million driver stimulus to get more drivers back on the road and combat the high driver churn throughout COVID.
Uber’s Global Footprint
Since it was founded, Uber has expanded to have a global presence, with millions of users around the world relying on its services.
How Many Countries is Uber in?
Uber is a trusted rideshare app for passengers in thousands of cities throughout 82 countries.
The United States is Uber’s largest market, with Brazil following closely behind with 17 million Uber passengers.
London and India are two other key markets and have millions of passengers using Uber’s ride-hailing services every week.
How Many Riders Does Uber Have?
While the number of monthly riders dropped in 2020, Uber has seen a significant increase in passengers as many states and countries began reopening following the pandemic.
During the fourth quarter of 2020, Uber reported 93 million monthly active users.
Uber’s Usage Statistics
Here are some key Uber statistics to know about usage and rides in recent years.
How Many Trips do Uber Riders Take Per Day?
On average, Uber riders worldwide take 14 million trips per day.
How Many Trips do Uber Riders Take Per Year?
- 2018: 5.21 billion trips
- 2019: 6.9 billion trips
- 2020: 4.98 billion trips
- 2021: 2.96 billion trips as of the end of the second quarter
Dara Khosrowshahi, in a live stream presentation to drivers last week let a figure slip out that is significant because of who it came from.
But insignificant because it didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know!
Khosrowshahi told drivers in the audience and online that Uber has “millions of people” driving every single week around the world!
At the 12:30 mark he said that Uber has, “Millions of people around the world drive with Uber every single week.”
Okay, so that doesn’t really tell us much!
We all assumed it was a few million.
In fact, most of the guestimates you’ll find online estimate that there are 1-1.5 million drivers in the U.S. alone.
Many of these only apply to drive to unlock a sign up bonus, meet the requirements to get paid out, then stop driving.
But that wasn’t the last word during the drivers’ live stream presentation!
There was another speaker, who got a little more specific.
His name is Yuhki Yamashita and he’s the Group Product Manager at Uber.
Yamashita started his presentation with a look at the future of the driver experience.
And to kick things off, he began with a number. A very big number!
The number was 8.5 million.
This is, as he said, about the same number of hours that you have in a thousand years.
And that’s true – although it’s actually 970 years. But close enough for our purposes!
8.5 million is the total number of hours Uber drivers around the world spend on the road – each day!
Yamashita’s point was that it’s amazing to think that every single day, the equivalent of 1,000 years of time is spent by Uber drivers driving.
And that is amazing.
But, it also gives us a clue as to how many Uber drivers there might be.
Academic studies, private surveys and other methods of extracting this information, have shown that Uber drivers average about 4 hours of driving a day on the days they drive.
So, if we have 8.5 million driving hours on the road each day, and drivers average around 4 hours a day, that would put us at a little over 2 million drivers.
In fact, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, put the figure at exactly 2 million in the middle of 2017. In a blog post, he said:
In a highly competitive market it is easy to become obsessed with growth, instead of taking the time to ensure you’re on the right path. Now is that time… to pause for a moment and think about what really matters here: providing 65 million riders transportation when they need it, giving 2 million drivers flexible work options, and creating a company culture we are proud of.
So, that looks like a pretty solid answer to how many drivers Uber has – at least at the halfway point of 2017.
Does Uber Have Too Many Drivers?
It would appear so.
If you take Yamashita’s 8.5 million hours of driving a day and combine it with Camp’s statement that there are 2 million drivers, it would seem, based on known averages, that what Camp meant is that there are 2 million drivers on the road each day.
Camp also said this in that same blog post:
Uber has become a global service providing roughly 15 million rides per day across 500 cities, and international markets are growing as fast as ever.
So, if Uber is completing 15 million rides per day (worldwide) with 2 million drivers, that means there are 7.5 passengers per driver – on average.
And that would explain why so many drivers sit idle for so many minutes in between trips.
Obviously, a lot of drivers, especially in large cities, know the times and places to be where they can stay busier than that.
But on average, there is a lot more wait time for next trips than there should be.
The numbers Uber has given us, combined with known averages work out really well:
- 2 million drivers per day – who drive on average for 4 hours;
- there are 15 million rides each day;
- the average driver can do about 2 trips per hour;
It works out just about right. If the average driver works 4 hours per day and does about 2 trips per hour – that works out to about 7.5 trips per driver per day.
Based on the fact that these numbers work out with known averages, we believe there are about 2 million drivers worldwide and probably about half of those are in the U.S.
Some have estimated it’s closer to 3 million drivers.
However, they base that estimate on the growth in the number of drivers that they assume has occurred since June 2017 when Camp let it be known that there are 2 million drivers.
But we don’t believe the growth rate in the number of drivers in the last 9-10 months has been as high as it was in the past.
We believe the growth rate has slowed considerably.
And with Uber continuing to lose about half its drivers every year, we think that means there has probably been little net increase in the number of drivers since last June.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you understand Uber’s current driver statistics and how they affect you, read these FAQs to learn more about driving with Uber.
Is Uber Losing Money?
While Uber is beginning to recover from pandemic losses, its second-quarter reports show an earnings loss of $509 million and a cash burn of $1.28 billion.
Uber’s losses are expected to continue at least until the next quarter.
However, with the spike in demand for rideshare apps and continued pandemic recovery, the company anticipates an increase in bookings and substantial economic progress.
How Much Do Uber Drivers Make Now?
Driver earnings are calculated based on factors such as standard tip fare, promotions, and surge pricing.
Drivers, on average, make between $8.55 and $11.77 per hour.
However, this salary is significantly impacted by location and demand.
Driving in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, and New York City create higher earnings, with New York City drivers earning an average of $26.24 per hour.
Will the number of drivers on the road always affect my earnings?
Unfortunately, the number of Uber drivers on the road will always affect how much you earn.
When there are too many drivers in the same area at once, it will likely take a while for you to receive requests.
On the flip side, if demand is much higher than supply — which often happens during rush hour, at events, and during certain holidays — you’ll end up earning far more per trip thanks to surge pricing.
As long as you pay attention to the heat map on the homepage of your app, you’ll know where surge is highest so you can make significantly more than minimum wage.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted the number of drivers on the road?
While ridesharing has clearly taken a hit due to COVID-19, many Uber drivers are still active on the Uber Driver app.
Plus, Uber Eats is still faring well, like many food and grocery delivery apps, thanks to the rise in people staying at home.
Does Uber set limits for how many Uber drivers they accept?
While there’s no limit to how many rideshare drivers can be on the platform, the company does set local limits based on demand for specific services.
For example, if Uber Black demand is low in San Francisco, the market may temporarily stop accepting new applicants for the service.
Luckily, because demand is always changing, local caps are always changing too.
Even if you can’t currently apply to drive your desired ride type now, you may be able to later.
One exception to this is in New York City.
NYC regulations have forced rideshare companies (not just Uber) to limit the number of new drivers and the number of drivers on the road based on current demand.
Uber Driver Numbers Today
While Uber continues to face a driver shortage, the number of Uber drivers throughout the United States has shown significant growth since 2009.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is determined to get drivers back on the road and meet passenger’s demand for ridesharing services.
Through economic incentives and stimulus boosts for drivers, Uber is looking to increase their reach and get their bookings back to pre-pandemic numbers.
As rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft recover from COVID-19, there will be new challenges in building retention and preventing driver churn.
Uber, its drivers, and passengers will have to navigate these changes to avoid high turnover and increase the number of drivers.
With one million US drivers and an increasing need for mobility, Uber is likely to continue to grow and provide trusted rideshare services to passengers around the globe.