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Minority Business Ownership Differs by Sector

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As the U.S. population has become more diverse, so has ownership of the nation’s businesses.

There were more Hispanic-owned businesses overall and more minority-owned businesses in various sectors in 2020 than a decade earlier, according to the Census Bureau’s 2021 Annual Business Survey (ABS).

The diversity of business owners mirrors the changing profile of the nation’s population. The 2020 Census found that the population of nearly all race and ethnicity groups in the United States had grown since 2010 with the exception of the White alone population, which declined during the decade.

Approximately 20% or 1.2 million of these employer businesses were owned by minorities. They employed about 9.9 million employees and had annual payroll of $357.4 billion.

The ABS includes annual business statistics and demographic characteristics of employer firms such as owners’ race, ethnicity, sex and veteran status.

U.S. Business Ownership

In 2020, there were a total 5,775,258 U.S. firms in all sectors. They employed about 129,363,644 workers and had total annual payroll of $7.3 trillion. 

Approximately 20% or 1.2 million of these employer businesses were owned by minorities. They employed about 9.9 million employees and had annual payroll of $357.4 billion.

According to the ABS, business ownership among some racial and ethnic groups was concentrated in certain industries. 

Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched the Capital Readiness Program grant competition, which dedicates $93.5 million to help minority and other underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses.

This program, administered by the Minority Business Development Agency, marks the largest program of its kind in the history of the Commerce Department.

Hispanic Ownership

Hispanic-owned businesses grew about 8.2%, from 346,836 in 2019 to 375,256 in 2020, and made up about 6.5% of all businesses in the United States in 2020. 

In 2020, Hispanic-owned businesses yielded about $472.3 billion in annual receipts and employed about 2.9 million employees.

The highest number of Hispanic-owned firms was in the Construction sector.

Other sectors in which Hispanic-owned businesses outnumbered those owned by other minority groups in 2020: Transportation and Warehousing; Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services. 

Black-Owned Businesses

There were 140,918 U.S. Black- or African American-owned businesses — across all sectors of the economy — in 2020 with annual sales of $141.1 billion. They employed 1.3 million people. 

The Health Care and Social Assistance sector had the highest number (38,319) of businesses with majority Black or African American ownership, making up 27.5% of all Black-owned businesses.

These businesses employed 468,433 workers and had annual payroll of $12.2 billion.  

Asian-Owned Businesses

In 2020, there were 612,194 Asian-owned businesses employing about 5.2 million in the United States, the highest among all minority groups.  

A large share of Asian-owned firms — 23.8% — were in the Accommodation and Food Services sector in 2020. The number of Asian-owned businesses in this sector far outnumbered ownership by other minority groups.

New to the Annual Business Survey

The 2020 ABS has a new geographic feature. It categorizes firms by urban and rural locations and found there were more minority-owned businesses in urban (1,010,744) than rural areas (56,865). 

More to Come

The ABS has a unique feature that includes a rotating module. 

Each year, the survey includes a new set of questions to measure different aspects of American businesses, including innovation and research and development. 

In recent years, the rotating module has included data on technology, financing and management practices and characteristics. 

Lynda Lee is supervisory survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Economic Management Division.

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