Black Women Entrepreneurs Progressing

May 11, 2018

It is time for business analysts and researchers to give more attention to the entrepreneurial dynamics of minority women – rather than continuing to lump them into the category of all minorities. According to a new survey by the Census Bureau, women make up 20.5% of the nation’s 5.2 million persons who own firms that have one or more employees, as of 2014. Interestingly, minority women in general and Black women, in particular, are more likely to own a more significant percentage of businesses in their respective groups- when compared to white women.

On September 1, 2016, the Census Bureau released a new survey entitled, Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE).  It uses data collected from a sample of approximately 290,000 employer-based firms that operated during 2014. An employer-firm is as an enterprise with one or more full-time workers.

There are some unique dynamics regarding gender ownership characteristics by race and ethnicity. Women owned 20.5% of all such firms. However, white women held 19.6% of all white-owned employer businesses, but minority women held 26.8% of all employer-based firms owned by minorities.

More notable, Black women had the highest percentage ownership rate of all gender groups. They held 35.1% of all Black-owned employer firms; followed by Native American women, 29.2%; Asian women, 27.1%, and Hispanic/Latino women, 24.3%. In comparison, white women had the lowest within group percentage ownership,19.6%.

The table below illustrates the findings. The results suggest that policymakers and business analysts should start giving more attention to patterns of women business ownership and stop merely combining them into the category of all minorities.

2014 Gender and Race/Ethnic Ownership of Employer-based Firms

Source: Census Bureau Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs

Employer-based Firm Category All Employment Based Firms Women-owned Employer Firms Percent of Women-owned Firms in each  Group
All Firms                   5,165,806   1,057,254 20.5%
Minority-owned                      949,318      254,260 26.8%
Nonminority-owned                   4,141,816      799,254 19.3%
White-Owned                   4,441,550      868,525 19.6%
Black-owned                      108,473        38,038 35.1%
Native American-owned                        26,757          7,810 29.2%
Asian-Owned                      506,595      137,321 27.1%
Hispanic/Latino-owned                      298,563        72,542 24.3%

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