Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners

The survey of business owners conducted by the Census Bureau is one of the most comprehensive surveys conducted in the national business community. This is because the survey uses a large number of key variables to identify specific trends and also track business owners by specific groups, categories and demographics.

The most recent survey results have shown that there has been noticeable shifts in business trends among different ethnic groups and genders. This includes the growing number of women who are launching their own businesses. The number of women launching their own business began significantly growing during the 1980's, then slowed down somewhat in the early 2000's, and now the number of women owned businesses is growing again. In earlier times most women started a business by choice, now many are doing it because they have no choice. This particularly includes women over the age of 50 who have experienced unexpected layoffs over the past five years. 

There has also been a growing number of Hispanic businesses being launched due to the growing number of Hispanic immigrants relocating to this country.

Now let's look at some of the key variables used to conduct this survey.

The first set of variables include gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. The standard ethnic groups used in this survey are American Indian, Asian, Black or African-American, Native Hawaiian, Non-Hispanic White Men and Other Pacific Islander. The second set of variables includes businesses that are owned by a minority group or a woman.

The third set of variables involves a sampling of specific statistics based on racial distributions for various state-industry classes and racial distributions for various zipcodes. In addition there is also administrative data gathered from the Social Security Administration.

Then there are “subgroup” categories consisting of business owners who report being of two or more races. These business owners may be included in two or more surveys because their dual race status qualifies them for multiple survey categories. Some of the other information contained in these surveys include gross sales and receipts, annual payroll amounts, statistical data, and also a category for employer and non-employer firms.

The survey also covers a wide range of fields and industries such as rail transportation, postal service, public administration, scheduled air passenger transportation, crop and animal production, private households, and grant making and religious organizations.

It should also be noted that the statistical results and data reports from the Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners is frequently used by economic and social analysts, industry organization leaders, business entrepreneurs and various government organizations.

To learn more about the Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners go to http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo/about.html.

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