The independent systems still constitute the bulk of the human inhabited systems. They bring a rich tapestry of cultures and beliefs to the dark of space. From these worlds individuals and governments seek new opportunities deep in unexplored space.
— Elite: Dangerous Handbook
An Independent System is a star system that is not incorporated in the Alliance, Empire or Federation. The majority of human inhabited space consists of independent systems. There are 8,409 populated independent systems in the galaxy as of February 3304 CE. They're not aligned with major factions. It has an estimated population of 1,793,096,903,451 (1.798 trillion) as of February 3304 CE.
Independent systems have rich and diverse cultures and beliefs. The main appeal is the freedom of self-governance and new opportunities in uncharted, deep space. These systems are generally less safe, but not necessarily anarchy. Some people are independent such as certain powers and engineers.