Written by: Tom Mesenbourg, Deputy Director, US Census Bureau
This week, the Census Bureau released a summary of the data it collected on minority-, women and veteran-owned businesses from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO). These data give us a detailed portrait of the economic activity of these businesses, as well as for businesses owned by men, nonveterans and non-minorities.
One thing is clear from the data, just as the country itself is diversifying, so too is business ownership. While the total number of businesses in the country increased 17.9 percent between 2002 and 2007, the number of minority-owned businesses increased 45.5 percent — more than twice the national rate.
The SBO provides the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on business ownership by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran-status. Without this survey, there would be no benchmarks for assessing and directing federal, state and local government programs designed to promote business activities among these groups.
Consider the following statistics from the 2007 SBO and the impact that minority-owned businesses had on the nation’s economy—
• Minority owned firms employed 5.8 million workers — a 24.4 percent increase over 2002.
• Women were the majority owners of 7.8 million firms that accounted for 28.8 percent of all businesses nationwide.
• Businesses where veterans were majority owners or half-owners represented 13.5 percent of all businesses nationwide.
• Sales and receipts for Hispanic-owned businesses were up 58.0 percent between 2002 and 2007.
The SBO is part of the Economic Census, which the Census Bureau conducts every five years for years ending in “2” and “7.”