U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs

We now know more about American entrepreneurs than ever before, thanks to a major public-private partnership among the U.S. Census Bureau, the Kauffman Foundation and the Minority Business Development Agency. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs will supplement the Survey of Business Owners (SBO), conducted every five years.

Click here for the latest Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.

The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs provides a timely, more frequent socio-economic portrait of the nation’s employer businesses by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status. It includes a relevant topic not found in the SBO: the number of years a firm has been in business. It also includes extensive geographical coverage, with data at the national level, all fifty states, and the fifty largest metropolitan areas in the country. 

The Story of American Entrepreneurs

The second Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs data were released July 13, 2017, covering the year of 2015. Key takeaways include:

  • Among the 5.4 million firms in the United States with paid employees, 481,981, or 8.9 percent, had been in business for less than two years in 2014.
  • Minority-owned businesses increased 4.9 percent in the U.S.
  • Minority-owned employer firms in the U.S. increased by approximately 4.9 percent in 2015 to 996,248 from 949,318 in 2014.
  • Payroll and employment for minority-owned employer firms in the U.S. also increased from 2014 to 2015 by approximately 7 percent ($237.5 billion to $254 billion) and 6.2 percent (7.6 million to 8 million people employed), respectively.
  • California led all states in the number of minority-owned firms with approximately 228,148 (22.9 percent of the U.S. total of minority-owned firms) and the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, metropolitan area led the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the number of minority-owned firms (approximately 127,736 or 12.8 percent).
  • Ownership of firms by women increased 3 percent from 2014 to approximately 1.1 million in 2015. Payroll for women-owned firms also increased from $277.9 billion in 2014 to $293.1 billion in 2015—a change of 5.5 percent.
  • Additionally, about one-quarter (268,629, or 24.7 percent) of all women-owned employer firms were minority-owned.
  • Hawaii and California led all states in the percentage of all employer businesses that were minority-owned, at 55.9 percent and 32.6 percent, respectively.

Each year’s release of the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs will contain a module focusing on different topics. The 2015 survey highlights management practices. Respondents were asked a series of questions about worker types and types of tasks performed by each worker type included in the 2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs’ worksheet.

The newly released Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs statistics are not directly comparable to the Survey of Business Owners due to significant changes in methodologies. 

For more information about the survey, including design, methodology and data limitations, see www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ase.html.