YouTube's Creative Ecosystem Contributed $25B To U.S. GDP

The Oxford Economics Study — The State of The Creator Economy — examines how content affects the economy, assessing the economic, societal and cultural impact of YouTube in the U.S. last year.

This report shows how YouTube supports people who want to learn the skills needed to pursue a 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 U.S.

More than 425,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs were supported by YouTube’s creative ecosystem in the U.S. in 2021.

Some 5,500 channels in the U.S. had more than 1 million subscribers as of December 2021, and 45,000 channels had more than 100,000 subscribers as of December 2021.

Oxford Economics worked closely with YouTube to develop a way to measure the video platform’s impact across the United States, quantifying jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) outcomes while explaining the ripple effects on adjacent industries and individuals’ quality of life.



The team surveyed more than 6,000 YouTube users, creators, and businesses in the U.S. to gain insights into how the platform contributes to the American society and culture.

YouTube has become a platform that helps users research and learn how things work, how to make things work when broken, and more. It offers information on a vast array of topics ranging from how to stay fit to how to build a solar system that filters water.

Don’t get me wrong -- there is a negative side to YouTube -- the side that slips through fraud detection, or features content marked by racism and radicalism, but overall, the content offers a platform to learn and become more acquainted with brands not previously heard of before.

Ninety-three percent of users report that they learn how to fix practical problems on YouTube, while 87% of users who search for sustainability content on YouTube say they found helpful information, 90% agree they want to use the influence they discovered on YouTube to make a positive impact on society, and 93% report using YouTube to gather information and knowledge.

The Oxford Economics Study also provided some examples of success stories. One profile detailed Justin Ellen’s Road to success, from watching cake decorating videos on YouTube, to starting his own business baking goods. In-depth videos helped him “perfect intricate techniques like frosting methods and creating edible flowers,” per the report.

In 2021, the business grossed $100,000 in sales. It is on track to double that total in 2022 through product sales, custom cake orders, and online and in-person classes.

Some 85% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) with a YouTube channel agree that YouTube played a role in helping them grow their customer base by reaching new audiences. Eighty-three percent of SMBs using YouTube during the COVID-19 pandemic agree that the platform helped their company adapt, and 75% said YouTube helped them sustain their business during the pandemic.

The study also reports on the impact of diversity and inclusion, but the findings run a bit short. The data highlights the impact on female creators. For example, it finds that 86% of female creators agree that YouTube helps them share their passions and ideas, but the data does not provide the same insight into male creators. It also does not discuss age.

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