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Perhaps you’ve heard of the sharing economy or gig economy, likely in reference to services like Uber or Airbnb. But the gig economy goes well beyond a way to hail a ride or book a room. It includes a diverse and growing number of individuals who work contingent or contract-based jobs — that is, “gigs.”

More than one-fifth of Americans provide services via alternative work arrangements, and 42 percent have used on-demand services — and those numbers are growing.

And yet, 73 percent of Americans say they’re not familiar with the term “sharing economy.” Nine in 10 say they’re unfamiliar with the term “gig economy.”

Gig Life is a series that seeks to provide a better understanding of these concepts, exploring the news, numbers and individuals at the heart of a new economy.