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The creator economy – where passions become businesses

  • By Tara Walpert Levy
  • Vice President, Americas
  • Jul.20.2022
In the latest 2021 U.S. YouTube Impact Report, we highlight key findings and showcase individual creator stories.
The creator economy – where passions become businesses
In the latest 2021 U.S. YouTube Impact Report, we highlight key findings and showcase individual creator stories.

Creators have always been at the core of YouTube’s success. However, over the years we have also gained a better understanding of the tremendous benefits YouTube’s creative ecosystem provides to our economy, society, and culture. Today we are releasing the findings of the latest Oxford Economics study on the state of the creator economy, which illustrates just how profound of an impact our creators are having on American life.

Oxford Economics estimates that [in all,] YouTube’s creative ecosystem contributed over $25 billion to the US GDP.

I joined YouTube less than five years after ads were introduced onto the platform. A little over a year later, the company launched the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) so creators could directly share in the success of YouTube’s advertising business. Back then, the concept of a content creator was still in its infancy, and the idea that people could grow a business or earn steady, meaningful income through personalized video content was quite novel. Today, YouTube offers ten monetization options through which millions of creators earn money to pursue their passions, support their families and create additional jobs by hiring employees.

This report shows that YouTube continues to be one of the best places for entrepreneurs. It’s where someone with a creative vision can grow an audience and earn reliable income. It’s also where people who want to take control of their own future can learn the skills they’ll need to pursue a new career or build a business outside of YouTube. Oxford Economics estimates that in 2021 YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported more than 425,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the US. In all, YouTube’s creative ecosystem contributed over $25 billion to the US GDP.

Kukuwa Fitness

YouTube creator Kukuwa Fitness

These are no doubt exciting numbers, but even more impressive are the individual stories behind them. Like that of Kukuwa Kyereboah, who during the COVID-19 pandemic was forced to switch from in person classes to online classes to keep her students, and fans going. Kukuwa wanted to continue sharing her love for dance and her native African culture with the world, so she doubled down on YouTube. There, she discovered new ways to engage and grow her audience. She shared that YouTube is increasingly part of her income.

White House on the Hill

YouTube creators White House on the Hill

We're seeing more creators look to YouTube to showcase their unique experiences and expertise. Take Jake and Becky Grzenda, who left city life to raise their family on a farm in rural Missouri, where they wanted to grow sustainable, healthy food and set a positive example for their children in the process. They initially turned to YouTube to learn the ins and outs of farming, but eventually grew their own following on the platform by sharing videos about their parenting and farming journey.

Their YouTube channel has grown considerably since they first launched it in 2017. Today, YouTube is a significant part of their income and that revenue has allowed them to continue expanding their operation while sharing the simple joys of farm life with their viewers.

I have the privilege to interact with people like Kukuwa, Jake and Becky regularly. They are a source of inspiration and remind me why we at YouTube work to ensure YouTube is the best place for them and other creative entrepreneurs. That's why we have continued to expand the ways for creators to connect with fans — through multiple formats like Shorts, Live, and Audio — and to continue to explore additional ways to create value for users and for creators to make money. We are excited to continue to build on the impact outlined in this report so that more multiformat creators and creative entrepreneurs prosper on YouTube.

Visit yt.be/impact to learn more and meet the people behind the numbers.