Survey of Business Owners (SBO)

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1992 Survey of Business Owners Press Releases

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    Public Information Office                                          CB97-182
    301-457-3030-457-3670 (fax)
    301-457-4067 (TDD)

    Mary Frauenfelder

              Almost Half of All U.S. Small Businesses Home-Based,
                             Census Bureau Reports

         Nearly half of the 17 million small businesses in the United States were
    home-based, according to a new report released today by the Commerce
    Department's Census Bureau.

         "Only 2 percent of these home-based businesses had $250,000 or more in
    receipts while 74 percent brought in less than $25,000," said Mary
    Frauenfelder, author of the report, 1992 Characteristics of Business Owners,
    CBO92-1.  "Most small business owners worked less than 40 hours a week and
    their businesses were not their primary source of income," she said.

         More than 14 million of the 17 million small businesses in the United
    States (82 percent) were owner-operated and had no paid employees.

         Other highlights from the 1992 report include:

       -        Most owners had prior work experience. More than half of the small
        business owners had 10 or more years of work experience before
        starting or acquiring their businesses, and half had a close
        relative who was a business owner.

       -        Many owners were college educated. Thirty-five percent of the owners
        had at least a bachelor's degree and 42 percent of the owners of
        service businesses had bachelor's and/or professional degrees.

       -        Capital commitments were modest. Fifty-seven percent of the owners
        started or acquired their businesses with less than $5,000 in
        capital and 25 percent required no capital. Only 19 percent used
        capital based on a personal loan.

       -        Minority firms draw minority customers. Forty-four percent of African
                American-owned businesses reported that more than half their
        customers were minorities; Hispanic-owned firms reported 33
        percent; Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Alaska
        Native firms, 26 percent; and nonminority male firms, 9 percent.

       -        Women-owned businesses hire proportionately more women. Thirty-five
        percent of women-owned employer firms reported 75 percent or more
        of their work force was female, compared to less than 24 percent
        of the nonminority male-owned firms.

         The full report and tabulations show owner and business characteristics by
    race, ethnicity, gender, kind of business and legal form of organization for
    individual proprietorships, partnerships and subchapter S corporations (a
    subchapter S corporation is a special Internal Revenue Service designation for
    legally incorporated businesses with 35 or fewer shareholders who, because of
    tax advantages, elect to be taxed as individual shareholders rather than as

         The data in this report are subject to sampling variability, as well as
    nonsampling errors.  Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response,
    nonreporting and coverage.  Measures of sampling variability, presented as
    relative standard errors, are shown in the publication tables.

         The Internet address is

         To obtain a paper copy of the report, call the Public Information Office
    on 301-457-3030.


    The Census Bureau pre-eminent collector and provider of timely, relevant and
    quality data about the people and economy of the United States.  In more than
    100 surveys annually and 20 censuses a decade, evolving from the first census
    in 1790, the Census Bureau provides official information about America's
    people, businesses, industries and institutions.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Survey of Business Owners | 1-800-242-2184 | | Last Revised: September 29, 2014