The Top 3% Of YouTubers Barely Make Minimum Wage

6 March 2018, 10:54

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Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

Ever wondered how much money YouTubers make? The answer may depress you.

The myth that YouTube is a surefire way to make a ton of money is just that, a myth. It's something that YouTubers themselves have said for a long time, but now there's even data to back it up.

According to a new statistical analysis from Germany conducted by Professor Mathias Bärtl from the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, even the top 3% of YouTubers barely make enough money to clear the US poverty line.

Professor Bärtl examined ten years’ worth of YouTube data in order to produce what is a frankly sobering answer to the common public perception that YouTubing is effectively a modern day get-rich-quick scheme.


96.5% of YouTube users don’t make enough money to clear the US poverty line

That's around £8,733 per year. For context, the US poverty line for one person is around $15,060. Now take this with a pinch of salt because the study took into account all YouTube accounts, not just the ones that are actively making videos. Still, pretty bleak eh?

The top 3% only make about $16,800 (~£12,080) per year

To be clear: that is not very much, at least not within the perception that YouTubers are 'all rich'. Plus, to make that much money you need to be getting around 1.4 million video views per month (that's 16.8 million views per year), meaning you could be a 'successful' YouTuber and still be making barely enough money to live off.

The 1% are doing just fine, however

In a display of classic capitalism, the top 1% of YouTubers are the one's making the big non-poverty-line bucks. It's just another indication of how the site has become weighted towards it's big name stars, and a further indication of just how hard it is to break into YouTube now.

So how do YouTubers survive?

You have to remember that YouTubers tend to have multiple sources of income, with YouTube revenue itself often being one of the least profitable. Merchandising, sponsored videos and brand deals are how YouTubers make enough money to live comfortably. Think about that the next time you roll your eyes at a video with #ad in its title.

This is why YouTubers are moving elsewhere

A lot of YouTubers are unsubtley testing the waters of other sites. Markiplier and JackSepticEye have already signed a lucrative deal to make exclusive content for the live-streaming platform, and others are sure to follow.