Study: Chicago App-Based Drivers Earn Higher than Chicago Minimum Wage

November 12, 2021

Lawndale News


The Illinois Coalition for Independent Work has released new data showing that, in addition to offering drivers flexibility to make extra money when and where they choose, the average hourly earnings for Chicago drivers today is $36.63, well above the $15/hourly minimum wage in Chicago. Key Insights from App-Based Platforms:

• Average hourly earnings for drivers in Chicago, including tips, is $36.63 per hour they’re providing a ride or delivery.

• Even without tips, drivers in Chicago are earning an average of $32.35 per hour they’re providing a ride or delivery.

• On average, drivers in Chicago are working fewer than five hours a week per platform, turning to the app-based economy for extra money when and where it best serves them.

The data, compiled by the Illinois Coalition for Independent Work, represents aggregate hourly earnings for workers at DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft and Uber in the City of Chicago between January 1 and June 30, 2021. These drivers in Chicago are parents, teachers, students, retirees, veterans and others who have turned to flexible work to help make extra money when it works in their lives. Earlier in the year, the Coalition released survey results from a statewide poll conducted by ALG that found positive reactions from drivers regarding their ability to access flexible work. Specifically, the study found:

• Eighty-six percent of drivers don’t rely on driving as their primary income

• Seventy-five percent of drivers are satisfied with their work and financial situation

For the purposes of calculating average hourly earnings, time worked is defined as beginning at the time a passenger or delivery is accepted by the driver until the trip or delivery is complete. As the legislature and city officials continue to focus on ways to create a more inclusive economy, policymakers should look for ways to strengthen access to work through access to benefits and protections while protecting the flexibility and independence drivers need.

App-based companies have also supported communities across Chicago and the country amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, Lyft and Uber announced a Covid-19 vaccination ride program in partnership with the White House. The partnership provided Americans free or discounted rides to and from their vaccination appointments. Instacart is providing shoppers and in-store teams with financial assistance in the form of a COVID-19 Vaccine Support Stipend, ensuring shoppers are able to take time away from Instacart to get vaccinated. The stipend will be available through the end of 2021. Instacart also supported vaccination efforts in Chicago, specifically in the West Pullman neighborhood, distributing free groceries and vaccines to community members. Additionally, DoorDash donated gift cards as part of its Community Credits program to local community health centers to broaden vaccine access for underserved communities.

About this study

Driver hourly earnings were measured as the average amount earned per hour of engaged time across the Doordash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber platforms. Engaged time is defined as the time period that begins when an app-based driver accepts a ride or delivery offer and ends when that driver completes that ride or delivery. Earnings were measured as the sum total of money paid out to drivers during the study period and hourly earnings were estimated both including and excluding tips. Company data were provided by DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber, for January 2021 through June 2021. Kivvit had independent access to this data and full discretion in analyzing the provided data. Kivvit worked with each company to establish uniform data definitions for purposes of this report. None of the platform companies involved in this report had access to data from other platform companies at any time.