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Black Business Ownership Surges

Number of firms increases at triple the national rate
  • March 26 2012

Business ownership is often sees as a steppingstone to economic and social equality, which makes the high growth rate of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. a positive shift.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business owners, the number of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. grew at around triple the national rate. In 2007—the year on which this data is based—there were 1.9 million businesses owned by African-Americans, a 60.5 percent increase over five years. The national rate was 18 percent.

Over the same period, receipts generated by black-owned businesses increased 55 percent to $137.5 billion.

According to the census analysis, nearly four in 10 black-owned businesses operated in the health care and social assistance; and repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors. The retail trade and health care and social assistance sectors accounted for 27 percent of Black-owned business revenue.

Among states, New York had 204,032 Black-owned businesses and accounted for slightly more than 10 percent of the nation's Black-owned businesses. It was followed by Georgia, with 183,874 Black-owned businesses (9.6 percent) and Florida, with 181,437 (9.4 percent).

Among counties, Cook, Ill. (the location of Chicago) had the most Black-owned businesses with 83,733. Los Angeles followed with 59,680 and Kings, N.Y. (Brooklyn) with 52,705 businesses. For cities, New York had the most (154,929) followed by Chicago (58,631), Houston (33,062) and Detroit (32,490).

Other findings include:

  • Of the 1.9 million Black-owned businesses, 106,824 had paid employees. These businesses employed 921,032 people, an increase of 22 percent; their payrolls totaled $23.9 billion, an increase of 36.3 percent.
  • 1.8 million Black-owned businesses had no paid employees.
  • The number of Black-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more increased by 35 percent between 2002 and 2007.



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