Introducing the Airbnb Economic Empowerment Agenda

At a time of growing economic inequality, Airbnb is democratizing capitalism and creating economic opportunities for the middle class, using technology to help connect and empower our community – not replace it. Our people-for-people platform allows ordinary people to use their house – typically their greatest expense – to generate supplemental income to pay for costs like food, rent, and education for their children. The typical Airbnb US host earns $6,100 sharing their space.

For some, home sharing has helped them stay afloat during tough times. An estimated 62 percent of US hosts say home sharing has helped them afford to stay in their home, and 12 percent of North America hosts say it saved them from eviction or foreclosure. For others, such as hosts in majority-immigrant communities, or the estimated 50,000 women hosts who have used their Airbnb income to support their own entrepreneurship, hosting has provided the capital needed to start a new business.

Overall, women hosts have earned over $10 billion in income through Airbnb since our founding in 2008. 55 percent Airbnb hosts are women, and, in fact, senior women are our fastest-growing host demographic, as well as our best-rated hosts. In the US, home sharing brings the typical senior host an additional $8,350 in income per year, equal to a 52-percent increase over Social Security income.

While governments are debating the best way to support groups such as seniors and the middle class, Airbnb is generating real money for families right now. Going forward, we are committed to building on our progress and today we are announcing the Airbnb Economic Empowerment Agenda, a series of steps we’re taking to support our community and generate new economic opportunities for families.

The Airbnb Economic Empowerment Agenda includes:

Supporting 1.3 million jobs in 2017
Airbnb gives millions of everyday people the chance to travel to cities and neighborhoods they might have missed if they stayed in a hotel, and disproportionately brings economics to neighborhoods that have not typically benefited from tourism. Airbnb is also growing the hospitality and travel sectors of the economy. Our surveys regularly find that without Airbnb, many guests would have cut their trip short or would not have traveled at all.

The increase in economic activity is good for communities and has the potential to create jobs.

To better understand how our community is supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and the economy as a whole, we partnered with NERA Economic Consulting to research the number of jobs supported by the Airbnb community. NERA’s study finds that the Airbnb community supported about 730,000 jobs globally in 2016 and estimates that our community will support approximately 1.3 million jobs in 2017.

Read the report

The Living Wage Pledge
One area of potential job creation comes in home cleaning. While many hosts clean their listings themselves, many others rely on help to get their listings ready for guests. We want to ensure the men and women who provide these services are paid the fair, living wage they deserve. By Labor Day, we’ll launch the Living Wage Pledge, a new feature whereby hosts can designate that they pay the people who clean their listing at least $15 per hour.

As a company, Airbnb already pays its US employees at least $15 per hour. To go further, Airbnb is committing that by 2020, all contractors and vendors whose personnel provide a substantial amount of work to Airbnb in the US will be paid at least $15 per hour.

Accommodations everywhere
Airbnb is committed to ensuring that underserved communities see an outsized benefit from the economic opportunities created by home sharing, both through additional income for hosts sharing their home and through local businesses that have never had the opportunity to earn tourism dollars before.

In recent years, African American, Latino and other minority group communities have been some of our fastest-growing host areas in US cities, bringing new dollars to these neighborhoods and the citizens who live there.  When census data is used to describe demographics, these areas are sometimes referred to as “majority-minority districts”. A 2016 study of our New York City host community found that the number of Airbnb guests grew 78 percent year-over-year in the 30 city zip codes with the highest percentage of black residents, compared to 50 percent city-wide. Similar studies of our host communities in Chicago’s South Side and Washington, DC’s Anacostia neighborhood found even higher rates of growth.

A recent study of majority-immigrant host communities in the Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City metropolitan areas found that hosts living in these areas have earned over $24 million by sharing their homes on Airbnb. These neighborhoods also have seen 65-percent growth in active Airbnb listings in the past year.

As part of our efforts to ensure that Airbnb continues to be an economic empowerment tool, we are setting a goal of doubling the size of our host community in urban majority-minority districts and underserved areas around the US in the next two years.

We will do this through a new effort, partnering with national and local organizations and holding on-the-ground, in-person events and trainings to help more people understand the economic opportunity provided by hosting.

Just the beginning
These provisions of the Airbnb Economic Empowerment Agenda are just the beginning. Going forward, we’ll be working to offer our hosts even more economic empowerment opportunities. These tools and services will be available at a dedicated hub on our platform that will launch in the months ahead.