Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Survey of Business Owners (SBO)

You are here: Census.govBusiness & IndustryEconomy-Wide StatisticsSurvey of Business Owners1997 Survey Results › Black - Press Release
Skip top of page navigation

1997 Survey of Business Owners Press Releases

This page was generated from an archived press release or table. Links and contact information listed in the text below are not necessarily valid at this time. All data from current and past surveys are available at http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo.


EMBARGOED UNTIL: 12:01 A.M. EST, MARCH 22, 2001 (THURSDAY)

Public Information Office                                                                                    CB01-54
301-457-3030/301-457-3670 (fax)
301-457-1037 (TDD)
e-mail: pio@census.gov

Eddie Salyers
Valerie Strang
301-457-3316

More Than 800,000 U.S. Businesses Owned by African Americans;
New York, California, Texas Lead States, Census Bureau Reports

African American-owned businesses in the United States totaled 823,500, employed 718,300 people and generated $71.2 billion in revenues in 1997, according to a report released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.

Businesses owned by African Americans made up 4 percent of the 20.8 million nonfarm businesses in the nation and 0.4 percent of the $18.6 trillion in receipts for all businesses.

The vast majority of African American-owned firms, 90 percent or 737,100, were sole proprietorships -- unincorporated businesses owned by individuals. C corporations (all legally incorporated businesses except for Subchapter S corporations, whose shareholders elect to be taxed as individuals rather than as corporations) numbered 42,700. But C corporations ranked first in receipts among all African American-owned firms, reporting $28.5 billion. The 1997 Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises was the first to include C corporations, from which the current tabulations are derived.

Four states, New York (86,500), California (79,100), Texas (60,400) and Florida (59,700) accounted for 35 percent of the firms owned by African Americans. Three out of 10 African Americans reside in these four states.


States With Largest Number of African American-Owned Firms: 1997
Geographic Area African American-owned firms Percent of total African American-
owned firms in U.S.
U.S. Total 823,500  
New York 86,500 10.5
California 79,100 9.6
Texas 60,400 7.3
Florida 59,700 7.2
Georgia 55,800 6.8
Maryland 47,600 5.8
Illinois 41,200 5.0
North Carolina 39,900 4.8
Virginia 33,500 4.1
Ohio 27,000 3.3

While New York had the largest number of African American-owned businesses, the District of Columbia had the highest percentage, with 24 percent of its firms being African American-owned but only 2.5 percent of its overall business receipts coming from African American-owned firms.

Maryland ranked second, with 12 percent of the state's firms owned by African Americans. They accounted for 1.4 percent of Maryland's receipts. Mississippi was third, with 11 percent of its firms African American-owned and 0.7 percent of its receipts from African American-owned firms; and Georgia was fourth, with 10 percent of its firms owned by African Americans and 0.7 percent of its receipts generated by African American businesses.


States With the Largest Percentage of African American-Owned Firms: 1997
State African American-
owned firms
All firms African American-owned firms
as a percent of all firms
U.S. Total 823,500 20,821,900 4.0
District of Columbia 10,900 45,300 24.1
Maryland 47,600 400,200 11.9
Mississippi 17,600 167,900 10.5
Georgia 55,800 568,600 9.8
South Carolina 23,200 260,300 8.9
Louisiana 25,800 295,700 8.7
Virginia 33,500 480,100 7.0
North Carolina 39,900 570,500 7.0
Alabama 19,100 285,200 6.7
New York 86,500 1,509,800 5.7

About one-half (49 percent), or 403,800, of African American-owned businesses had receipts of under $10,000; 23 percent, or 188,800, had receipts of between $10,000 and $25,000; and about 1 percent, or 8,700, had sales of $1 million or more. African American-owned firms averaged $86,500 in receipts compared with $410,600 for all U.S. firms (excluding publicly held corporations and firms whose owners' race or ethnicity were indeterminate, e.g., mutual companies whose ownership is shared by its members).

The survey data also show that 11 percent, or 93,200, of African American-owned firms had paid employees. These accounted for 79 percent ($56.4 billion) of the gross receipts of African American-owned businesses. There were 900 firms with 100 or more employees and total receipts of $12.3 billion.

More than half of African American-owned firms were in the service industry and accounted for 36 percent of the gross receipts of African American-owned businesses. Retail trade firms, on the other hand, accounted for 11 percent of total African American-owned firms but 19 percent of their gross receipts.

The number of African American-owned firms, excluding C corporations for which prior comparable data are not available, increased 26 percent from 1992 to 1997, compared with a 7 percent increase in this category for all U.S. firms.

Receipts of African American-owned firms rose 33 percent, from $32 billion in 1992 to $43 billion in 1997, compared with a 40 percent increase for all U.S. firms over the same period.

The data in the report were collected as part of the 1997 Economic Census from a large sample of nonfarm businesses filing tax forms as sole proprietorships, partnerships or any type of corporation with receipts of $1,000 or more in 1997.

The report, 1997 Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises: Black, presents data for African American-owned businesses by size, type of business and geographic areas (states, counties, metropolitan areas and places).

The data were collected in a sample survey and are subject to sampling variability, as well as nonsampling errors. Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. Further details concerning survey design, methodology and data limitation are contained in the full report. Comparisons to 1992 should be conducted with extreme caution due to changes in tax laws that result in inconsistencies between 1992 and 1997 data. Changes in survey methodology also may contribute to differences.

-X-

Percentage of Total Black-Owned Firms by State Compared With Percentage of
Black-Owned Firms to All Businesses by State: 1997
Geographic area African American-
owned firms
Percent of total African American-owned
firms in U.S.
All firms African American-
owned firms as a percent of all firms
U.S. Total 823,500   20,821,900 4.0
Alabama 19,100 2.3 285,200 6.7
Alaska 900 0.1 64,100 1.4
Arizona 3,600 0.4 329,000 1.1
Arkansas 6,700 0.8 193,400 3.5
California 79,100 9.6 2,565,700 3.1
Colorado 4,900 0.6 410,200 1.2
Connecticut 7,300 0.9 284,000 2.6
Delaware 2,700 0.3 56,600 4.8
District of Columbia 10,900 1.3 45,300 24.1
Florida 59,700 7.2 1,301,900 4.6
Georgia 55,800 6.8 568,600 9.8
Hawaii 600 0.1 94,000 0.6
Idaho 200 0.0 109,800 0.2
Illinois 41,200 5.0 882,100 4.7
Indiana 11,100 1.3 413,400 2.7
Iowa 1,400 0.2 227,600 0.6
Kansas 3,400 0.4 213,400 1.6
Kentucky 5,600 0.7 281,600 2.0
Louisiana 25,800 3.1 295,700 8.7
Maine 300 0.0 127,500 0.2
Maryland 47,600 5.8 400,200 11.9
Massachusetts 11,800 1.4 537,200 2.2
Michigan 25,000 3.0 677,500 3.7
Minnesota 4,000 0.5 410,600 1.0
Mississippi 17,600 2.1 167,900 10.5
Missouri 13,700 1.7 411,400 3.3
Montana 100 0.0 93,700 0.1
Nebraska 1,600 0.2 138,800 1.2
Nevada 2,800 0.3 129,800 2.2
New Hampshire 300 0.0 115,700 0.3
New Jersey 26,500 3.2 654,200 4.1
New Mexico 1,100 0.1 131,700 0.8
New York 86,500 10.5 1,509,800 5.7
North Carolina 39,900 4.8 570,500 7.0
North Dakota 100 0.0 55,300 0.2
Ohio 27,000 3.3 781,300 3.5
Oklahoma 5,300 0.6 280,700 1.9
Oregon 2,200 0.3 291,600 0.8
Pennsylvania 19,800 2.4 837,800 2.4
Rhode Island 1,300 0.2 80,900 1.6
South Carolina 23,200 2.8 260,300 8.9
South Dakota 200 0.0 65,800 0.3
Tennessee 20,200 2.5 415,900 4.9
Texas 60,400 7.3 1,526,000 4.0
Utah 400 0.0 169,200 0.2
Vermont 200 0.0 67,500 0.3
Virginia 33,500 4.1 480,100 7.0
Washington 5,600 0.7 447,400 1.3
West Virginia 1,100 0.1 111,700 1.0
Wisconsin 4,800 0.6 366,400 1.3
Wyoming 200 0.0 49,400 0.4

Note: Detail may not add to the total because a firm may be counted in more than one state.

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe.
[Excel] or the letters [xls] indicate a document is in the Microsoft® Excel® Spreadsheet Format (XLS). To view the file, you will need the Microsoft® Excel® Viewer Off Site available for free from Microsoft®.
The letters PPT indicate a document is in the Microsoft® PowerPoint® Format (PPT). To view the file, you will need the Microsoft® PowerPoint® Viewer Off Site available for free from Microsoft®.
This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Survey of Business Owners | (301) 763-3316 | csd.sbo@census.gov Last Revised: September 29, 2014