1992 Survey of Business Owners Press Releases
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Public Information Office CB97-182
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 http://www.census.gov/csd/cbo/.
To obtain a paper copy of the report, call the Public Information Office
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