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The Huge Geographic Bias in Sharing Rooms and Rides

Uber and Airbnb may seem like they’re everywhere these days. But they’ve grown fastest—in some cases, at more than twice their national rate, according to a new analysis—in just a handful of American cities. In a report released Thursday, Ian Hathaway and Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution make the case that U.S. Census data on “nonemployer firms,” which tracks the activity of businesses that earn at least $1,000 but have no employees, can serve as a good proxy for the independent contractors that underwrite the business model of companies like Uber.
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