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Nonemployer Statistics

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Abbreviations and Symbols

DWithheld to avoid disclosing data for individual businesses; data are included in broader industry totals.
SWithheld to avoid releasing data that do not meet publication standards; data are included in broader industry totals.
GLow noise applied to cell value
HMedium noise applied to cell value
CSACombined Statistical Area
MSAMetropolitan Statistical Area

Combined Statistical Area (CSA)

CSAs consist of two or more adjacent metropolitan and/or micropolitan areas that have substantial employment interchange. Because CSAs represent groupings of metropolitan and/or micropolitan statistical areas, they should not be ranked or compared with individual metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas.

Firms or Establishments

Generally, an establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted, services are rendered, or industrial operations are performed. However, Nonemployer Statistics counts each distinct business income tax return as a firm. For Nonemployer Statistics, the Census Bureau uses the terms firm and establishment interchangeably. Since a nonemployer business may operate from its owner's home address or from an unspecified physical location, most geography codes are derived from the business owner's mailing address, which may not be the same as the physical location of the business activity.

Legal Form of Organization (LFO) 

The Legal Form of Organization is derived from administrative record sources. The following Legal Forms of Organization are included in Nonemployer Statistics:

  • Corporation: An incorporated business that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own privileges and liabilities distinct from those of its members.  
  • Partnership:  An unincorporated business where two or more persons join to carry on a trade or business with each having a shared financial interest in the business.
  • Sole proprietorship:  Also referred to as a "individual proprietorship," an unincorporated business with a sole owner. Also included in this category are self-employed persons.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

MSA's have an urban core with 50,000 or more residents. Micropolitan statistical areas have an urban core with 10,000 to 49,999 residents.

Noise Infusion

Noise infusion is a method of disclosure avoidance in which values for each firm are perturbed prior to table creation by applying a random noise multiplier to the receipts data for each business. Disclosure protection is accomplished in a manner that results in a relatively small change in the vast majority of cell values. Read more on the How the Data Are Collected page.


A nonemployer business is one that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the Construction industry), and is subject to federal income taxes.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

The North American Industry Classification System is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical information related to the U.S. business economy. For more information, visit the NAICS website:


Includes gross receipts, sales, commissions, and income from trades and businesses, as reported on annual business income tax returns. Business income consists of all payments received for services rendered.

The composition of nonemployer receipts may differ from receipts data published for employer establishments. Nonemployer receipts may include commissions or earnings. In contrast, for employers the sales and receipts items published (for example, in the Economic Census) represents only the value of the goods involved in the transaction.  

Receipts Size Class

The receipts size class provides the number of establishments by the dollar value of reported receipts at the U.S. level only. The receipts size class is derived from the original receipts reported before noise is applied. This may cause a slight difference between the tabulated total establishment value and the value shown for a receipts size class. Receipts size class was first published with the 2009 reference year.

Reference Year

The reference year is the year for which the data are published. The data is released approximately 18 months after the conclusion of the reference year. 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Nonemployer Statistics | (301) 763-2580 |  Last Revised: May 30, 2013