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The 2012 Survey of Business Owners

In August 2015, the U.S. Department of Census published initial data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners.  The last survey was made in 2007.  While the data significantly trails real-time, it is the most comprehensive source for tracking trends in entrepreneurship, including ownership by women and individuals of color. 

Chart 1, shows selected data from the 2012 Survey of Small Business Owners.  Among other findings, the data shows a 27.5% increase in women-owned businesses between 2007 and 2012, as compared to a 7.9% increase in businesses owned by men and a -45.8% decrease in firms owned equally by men and women.   Women-owned businesses also experienced the greatest increase in the number of people they employed and wages paid.

Chart1 - Gender Differences in U.S. Businesses

 

Percent Change 2007 to 2012 Women-Owned Firms

Percent of Change 2007 to 2012 Man and Women-Owned Firms

Percent Change 2007 to 2012 Men-Owned Firms

U.S. Firms

27.5%

-45.8%

7.9%

Receipts from all firms

(employer and nonemployer)

35.1%

6.7%

33.8%

Employer Firms

15.7%

-25.8%

5.3%

Receipts from Employer Firms

35.4%

13.2%

34.9%

Employment

19.4%

-11.9%

11.5%

Payroll

35.3%

-0.9%

25.8%

Source:  National Women's Business Council

States with the highest percentage of women-owned firms included District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, and Florida.  Delaware, Alaska, North Dakota, Maine, and New Jersey were the states where women-owned firms collected the highest amount of receipts.

Women entrepreneurs, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, have unique skill sets, which both set them apart from other business owners and make them successful entrepreneurs.  Among other things, the Kauffman Foundation states that women entrepreneurs have a more nuanced understanding of businesses risk/reward profile.  Women are more comfortable with financial risks, but more sensitive about risks that may seem foolhardy.  The Kauffman Foundation also believes that there is a correlation between a rise in women entrepreneurs and increased business returns and payout ratios.

Chart 2 shows additional information from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners relative to race and ethnicity.  The largest percentage changes in business ownership were by Hispanic women, where the number of firms grew by 87.3% between 2007 and from 20012.  As a comparison, male Hispanic-owned firms grew by 39.3%.

Chart 2 - Comparison of Business Growth by Race, Ethnicity, and Veterans

Business Ownership

Percent Change 2007 to 2012

Number of all Firms

Asian American Women

44.3%

Asian American Men

25.7%

Black Women

67.5%

Black Men

18.8%

Hispanic Women

87.3%

Hispanic Men

39.3%

White Women

10.1%

Veteran Women

29.6%

Veteran Men

7.7%

Source: 2012 Survey of Business Owners

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