Airbnb: An economic force for good in American cities

Every night, more than 1 million people stay in strangers’ homes around the world through Airbnb. Our people-to-people platform represents a new form of capitalism: a globally networked community in which people engage first online and then, more importantly, in person. Airbnb hosts provide the capital, i.e., their homes; set their own prices; and keep 97 percent of the revenue, instead of revenue flowing through a corporate headquarters that controls the supply and distributes the profits.

At a time when many are concerned about technology’s potential negative impact on wages and job creation, Airbnb’s platform can help address the earning gap. We are not the solution to wage stagnation, but many middle-class households have turned to home sharing as a partial answer: 60 percent of US Airbnb hosts say hosting has helped them afford to stay in their homes, and 51 percent say they rely on Airbnb income to make ends meet. Forty-four percent of our US hosts earn $75,000 a year or less.

We continue to engage actively with cities across the US to demonstrate how Airbnb is a growing economic force for good. This report outlines the opportunity that Airbnb presents for American cities in three key areas:

  1. Airbnb is strengthening US cities by supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. In 2016, Airbnb supported 730,000 jobs in communities worldwide, including 130,000 in US cities. By 2020, Airbnb could be supporting as many as half a million jobs across the US.
  2. Airbnb is incentivizing “healthy” tourism and creating billions of dollars in economic output in cities across the US. By giving more people the chance to travel and helping more communities benefit from the kind of healthy tourism Airbnb promotes, we are democratizing travel and delivering powerful economic benefits to communities. In 2016, Airbnb’s estimated economic output in cities around the world was $61 billion, including $14 billion in US cities. By 2020, Airbnb could be creating over $50 billion in economic output in US cities.  
  3. Airbnb is democratizing revenue, becoming an important source of new tax revenue for US cities. Airbnb has entered into tax agreements with over 310 jurisdictions globally, including over 250 in the US alone, and Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $300 million in hotel and tourist taxes throughout the world, including over $270 million in the US. A strong majority of the Airbnb host community in the US, currently 57 percent, is now covered by tax agreements, and we look forward to working with more cities where we’re not yet collecting and remitting taxes to make arrangements to do so.