What Percentage Of YouTubers Make Money?

Vukasin Ilic 3 min read
What Percentage Of YouTubers Make Money?


A stunningly small percentage of YouTubers make money from YouTube. Even a smaller percentage make an income they can live of off.

And yet, the number of YouTube creators continues to grow year-over-year.

It doesn't come as a surprise to us though; running a YouTube channel where one shares knowledge, skills, or part of their lives seems like a dream job for many.

The inspiration we need to endure on this journey is not lacking either and is often provided by no others than our favorite creators. We are all constantly reminded of this platform's potential with income reports from YouTube creators.

That's not to say that we do not support creators being transparent and sharing all parts of their journey.

But it often puts us in a place where we feel like we can become the next creator who lives this lifestyle.

What we must not forget is the influence of many factors that led to the success of these popular YouTubers.

All of these factors are broken down in detail on this website, in an effort to help you join the group of successful creators.

The latest data show us that more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded on YouTube every minute. 

With the demand for video content increasing, this number is only set to continue to grow.

And your job as a creator is to set yourself apart from the crowd as much as you can and follow the science of content creation on YouTube.

How Many YouTubers Actually Make Money?

One of the commonly asked questions is how much money YouTubers make and what percentage of YouTubers make a living from YouTube.

What we often see is that a lot of the future creators underestimate how much money big channels make, while overestimating the percentage of YouTubers that actually make money.

This happens because it's hard to see the power of compound growth as an outsider, therefore, we often fail to realize all the automated income streams of a big YouTube channel.

On the other hand, we are mostly watching big channels, which gives us the impression that a large percentage of YouTubers are successful.

While it's very hard to estimate how much YouTubers make money on average, given the number of factors in play, a percentage of YouTubers that actually make money might be easier to estimate.

If we know there are over 51 million channels on YouTube (at the moment of writing this), and around 2 million channels are part of YPP (YouTube Partner Program), we can do some very simple math.

Only 1.02% of channels are eligible to make money from YouTube Ads.

Keep in mind that this is only a percentage of creators who are eligible to make ad revenue from YouTube. This doesn't tell the whole story because:

  • Being able to make money from YouTube doesn't mean you are actually doing it.
  • There are creators who only earn a couple of dollars every month and a large majority is still below the average living wage in the US.
  • Some creators are not earning money from ad revenue, but are making money through merch, affiliate programs, Patreon, sponsorships, direct sales, or many other avenues.

Why Is The Percentage So Low?

There are many reasons for this:

  • Anybody can create a channel. The number of channels is a metric that doesn't tell us much.
  • Low barrier to entry. Getting monetized by YouTube requires a relatively low number of subscribers and watch time. When you just get monetized, you are still far from creating an income you can depend on.
  • Too many abandoned and inactive channels - If YouTube would go with a more strict regimen and start deleting channels that haven't been active within the last 24 months (for example), then the number of channels would likely more than halve.

Are There More Definitive Numbers?

Unfortunately, no, there's no way to get a closer estimate of how many active YouTubers actually make money.

And without a very large survey and experiment, there's no way to know what percentage of YouTubers make the minimum US wage either.

But the fact of the matter is that it's irrelevant to know. The potential to make a living on YouTube is still very much there, even with the increase in the number of channels and content produced.

The increase in content production is not the only increase we are seeing. The number of platform users continues to soar as well, and it hit an all-time high of 2.5 billion users in 2022.

That means, there are more and more daily users hungry for quality content, which is going to be your main differentiator in an attempt to become a successful YouTuber.


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