Exploring Lyft and Uber driver demographics will help you decide if rideshare driving is for you.
The rideshare service is a multi-billion-dollar industry because there is a clamor for this unique, on-demand business.
If you are over 40 years old, your past experiences riding in taxis may have you questioning if rideshare driving is a less than prestigious “job.”
In other words, you may be wondering if rideshare drivers are the same types of people who drive traditional taxis.
You may also be wondering if you “missed the boat” and whether the rideshare driving “Gig” is already over-saturated with drivers?
Age and Gender Demographics
According to a 2016 survey by SurveyMonkey Intelligence, rideshare drivers are predominantly white, males age between 30 to 49 years old.
White male drivers make up about 40% of total drivers in the rideshare industry.
Close to 20% of the drivers within the rideshare industry are women while only about 12% of taxi drivers and chauffeurs nationwide are female. Lyft and Sidecar have more female drivers than Uber, but none of the rideshare companies are able to recruit women at a faster rate than men. The percentage of female drivers working for Lyft is about 30%. Sidecar has around 40% female drivers. Women driving for Uber is significantly lower at only 14%.
About 30% of rideshare drivers are 30 to 39 years old.
26% of the workforce belongs to the 40 to 49 age group while 24% of rideshare drivers are 50 years old and above. This means more than half of drivers are at least 40 years old.
A small percentage, 19%, of rideshare drivers are in the 18 to 29 age group.
Most rideshare drivers are white, about 37%.
Black/African Americans make up about 18% of the US driver pool and Hispanic/Latino make up about 16%.
With 37% rideshare drivers identifying as white that means 63% are not white.
Uber controls the market with a market share around 70% while Lyft’s market share is around 30%.
NOTE: Their market dominance explains why we can focus exclusively on Lyft and Uber driver demographics and ignore the smaller players like Sidecar and Carma. The up-and-comers are interesting but don’t alter the results found with Lyft and Uber.
Market share fluctuates by city and in some cities smaller players have interesting market share because Uber and/or Lyft operations have been blocked for a period of time, for example Austin, Texas.
According to a 2017 survey, Uber drivers are about 49.4% satisfied with their driving experience, earning about $15.68 per hour on average.
About half of rideshare passengers choose to give their drivers a star rating, up to five stars. The average star rating of Uber drivers is average 4.84 stars.
On the other hand, the satisfaction rating among Lyft drivers is at 75.8%, with earnings of $17.50 per hour excluding the tips. Taking into account Uber’s significantly larger market share it seems unlikely that Lyft drivers on average make over $2 more per hour compared to Uber drivers.
Lyft drivers’ average star rating is slightly higher than Uber at average 4.88 stars.
NOTE: These Lyft and Uber driver demographics show that Lyft is preferred over Uber by both rideshare passengers and rideshare drivers. This is interesting given that Uber controls 70% of the rideshare market. Why doesn’t Lyft have a larger market share?
Generally, female drivers report earning less at $14.26 per hour while male drivers have an average earning of $16.61 per hour.
Compared to male rideshare drivers, female rideshare drivers are likely to drive less total hours per week and focus on driving daytime and early evening hours (lower earning potential time periods) which may account for some of the disparity between male and female reported earnings.
Drivers age 62 years old and above make $3 per hour less than drivers age between 18 to 30 years old.
NOTE: These income figures are taken from rideshare drivers volunteering information and self-reporting their income using unknown methods to record and report rideshare driving income. Self-reporting means some Lyft and Uber driver demographics may over-report or under-report their incomes. Women and seniors are more likely to rideshare drive part time and be focused on making “side money;” so not driving as much during higher passenger demand evening/late nights and weekends.
About 67% of rideshare drivers reported working for Uber and Lyft. However, 75% of the rideshare drivers said they work primarily for Uber, which makes sense given that Uber controls most of the rideshare passenger market share. Lyft comes at a close second to Uber as the most preferred rideshare company among drivers.
NOTE: This significant group of drivers who work for both companies are another reason to focus on Lyft and Uber driver demographics together.
18% of Uber rideshare drivers report they also work for other “Gig Economy” services.
Postmates, DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub and other transportation services make up a small percentage of the other services rideshare drivers work for and these services are not direct competitors with the rideshare industry.
About 82% of Lyft drivers work less than 20 hours per week giving the appearance that part-time rideshare drivers are more likely to work with Lyft. This makes sense because Lyft has a reputation of treating rideshare drivers “better.”
Most rideshare drivers turn to Uber and Lyft to augment their earnings or finance their businesses as opposed to working full-time to pay most or all of their personal bills.
Rideshare drivers noted that they could change their hours depending on their financial needs and experience to increase their earnings. City and state regulations typically allow a rideshare driver to work up to 12 hours in a calendar day and up to 70 hours per week.
Time Working and Time Driving Demographics
About 41% of new drivers (on the road 3 to 5 months) are working less than when they originally started. These drivers were possibly motivated by the incentive bonuses offered to new drivers – “50 trips in first 30 days to earn $100.” To earn bonus offers new drivers may work more the first few months they drive.
Available data also shows that the rideshare industry has a constantly refreshing workforce.
More than half of rideshare drivers have been driving less than six months and about 23% less than three months. Only 16% of active rideshare drivers have been on the road for more than a year.
This constant influx of new drivers with no previous experience may raise some safety concerns but most cities and states have conducted a concerted effort to regulate rideshare services. About 22 cities and states in the US have implemented pro-ridesharing guidelines to ensure safe operations.
Something to consider if you are thinking about giving rideshare driving a try: passengers are used to the idea that most rideshare drivers will be relatively new to the gig. Don’t worry about standing out as a “newbie” or “amateur”.
If you are hesitating to give rideshare driving a try because you question if it is a less-than prestigious “job” it may help to know that rideshare drivers are generally well educated.
About 53.3% of drivers have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the United States national average of 33%. About 48% of Uber drivers have at least a college degree. This is a higher percentage compared to taxi drivers and chauffeurs nationwide, which stands at about 18%.
28% of rideshare drivers did not finish school or have no college degree.
About 7% of rideshare partners in the US are veterans while 7% are currently students.
While Uber has more drivers (over 160,000 active drivers in 2014) than Lyft, half of Uber drivers quit after just a year. The dropout rate for Lyft is somewhat lower.
Of the Uber drivers that remain after the first year, about 50% say they are satisfied with their working relationship with the company. Over 30% express dissatisfaction with Uber.
In contrast to Uber, about 75% of Lyft drivers say they are satisfied with their working relationship with Lyft.
Apart from the higher earnings and driver bonuses, Lyft drivers also receive more tips than Uber drivers. This difference occurs because Lyft makes tipping easy within their app, while Uber requires a passenger to rate their driver before the tipping option is available. A relatively small percentage of Uber passengers rate their drivers so they never even see the option to give a tip.
Between the two rideshare companies, Lyft was perceived as the more driver-friendly company among rideshare drivers. In other words, Lyft drivers tend to be happier with their rideshare experience than Uber drivers.
Although Uber has a low satisfaction rate compared to Lyft, most rideshare drivers still choose to work primarily for Uber. This isn’t surprising since Uber controls over 80% of the rideshare market.
Regardless of how much a driver would prefer to drive for Lyft over Uber, they may have to work with Uber in order to meet their income goals.
Discovering Lyft and Uber driver demographics makes it possible to understand the type of person attracted to rideshare driving.
Some of the take-aways about rideshare drivers:
- most are part-time
- a large percentage of them drive for both Lyft and Uber
- more than half are over 40 years of age
- more of them are male than female
- over 50% have college degrees
- Lyft drivers report higher satisfaction than Uber drivers
While those are the highlights, there is quite a bit of diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, and education levels represented within the group. People from every demographic are successfully rideshare driving, earning some extra money part-time or creating a full-time income.