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Research Reports

Preliminary Report for the Survey of Business Owner Data Analysis Project

Every five years, the U.S. Census completes an extensive Survey of Business Owners (SBO) that examines businesses by the gender of the business owner(s).  This is the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on the economic and demographic characteristics of businesses across the country by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.  The SBO is authorized by Title 13 of the United States Code and responses are mandatory.  The data on women-owned businesses provided by the Census is the main source of demographic information used by the NWBC.

The 2007 data was fully released in June 2011, so the NWBC commissioned a private research company to study this data in-depth. The data will be analyzed by different characteristics to further expand the current understanding of women-owned businesses and to search for any interesting or unique findings that bear further study. It is only with a firm understanding of the current state of businesses that the NWBC can begin to probe more deeply into other areas of interest.

This project will be completed in January 2012, but this preliminary report offers some key findings, including:

  • The percentage of female-owned firms in the South (36.8%) was nearly double the percentage in the Midwest (19.9%) and Northeast (18.8%).  However, the proportion of firms by region is nearly equal to the proportion of the population by region.
  • The average receipts of female-owned businesses in the West ($163,087) is approximately 6% greater than the national average ($153,456.)
  • Health care and social assistance is the first or second highest industry in each region, when examining the distribution of women-owned businesses by industry.
  • The average receipts of Hispanic ($70,634), Black ($40,367), American Indian and Alaska Native ($91,795), and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ($100,873) women-owned firms were substantially less than the average receipts of all women-owned firms ($153,456).  Average receipts of Asian ($167,654) and White ($167,969) women-owned firms were more than the average of all women-owned firms.  This also holds true when examining the data by region.
  • Four percent of all veteran-owned firms in this country are women-owned.  Nearly half (48.2%) of these veteran women-owned firms are in the South.
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