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Statistics about Business Size (including Small Business)
from the U.S. Census Bureau
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The Census Bureau does not define small or large business, but provides statistics that allow users to define business categories in any of several ways:

Independently, the Small Business Administration defines size standards for each NAICS industry [PDF] to determine which businesses are eligible for its programs.


Employers and Nonemployers

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About three quarters of all U.S. business firms have no payroll. Most are self-employed persons operating unincorporated businesses, and may or may not be the owner's principal source of income. Because nonemployers account for only about 3.4 percent of business receipts, they are not included in most business statistics, for example, most reports from the Economic Census.

Nonemployer Statistics annually classify nonemployer firms by industry and geographic area (U.S., states, counties, and metropolitan areas.)

Table 1. Employers and Nonemployers, 2007
Firms Estab-
lish-
ments
Sales or
Receipts
($1,000)
All firms 27,757,676 29,413,039 30,738.533,467
Nonemployers (firms with no payroll) 21,708,021 21,708,021 991,791,563
Employers (firms with payroll) 6,049,655 7,705,018 29,746,741,904

Employment Size of Firms

Table 2a. Employment Size of Employer and Nonemployer Firms, 2008
Introductory text includes scope and methodology. These data are also available by industry and state. Table includes both establishments with payroll and nonemployers. For descriptions of column headings and rows (industries), click on the appropriate underlined element in the table.
Employment size of enterprise Firms Estab-
lish-
ments
Paid
employees
Annual
payroll
($1,000)
Sales or
Receipts
($1,000)
n/a - Receipts data are available for employers only for the years for which an economic census is taken (2007, 2002, 1997).
All firms 27,281,452 28,952,489 120,903,551 5,130,509,178 n/a
Nonemployer firms 21,351,320 21,351,320 n/a n/a 962,791,527
Employer firms 5,930,132 7,601,169 120,903,551 5,130,509,178 n/a
Firms with 1 to 4 employees (or with no employees as of Mar 12) 3,617,764 3,624,614 6,086,291 232,062,907 n/a
Firms with 5 to 9 employees 1,044,065 1,056,947 6,878,051 222,504,912 n/a
Firms with 10 to 19 employees 633,141 667,463 8,497,391 293,534,352 n/a
Firms with 20 to 99 employees 526,307 705,430 20,684,691 774,589,335 n/a
Firms with 100 to 499 employees 90,386 359,902 17,547,567 706,476,693 n/a
Firms with 500 employees or more 18,469 1,186,813 61,209,560 2,901,340,979 n/a
Firms with 500 to 749 employees 6,060 72,676 3,681,760 156,491,764 n/a
Firms with 750 to 999 employees 3,038 48,005 2,617,087 114,635,897 n/a
Firms with 1,000 to 1,499 employees 3,044 64,556 3,720,654 167,658,791 n/a
Firms with 1,500 to 1,999 employees 1,533 45,062 2,653,392 121,800,728 n/a
Firms with 2,000 to 2,499 employees 904 36,081 2,011,244 94,406,916 n/a
Firms with 2,500 to 4,999 employees 1,934 120,416 6,726,611 329,188,349 n/a
Firms with 5,000 employees or more 1,956 800,017 39,798,812 1,917,158,534 n/a
Firms with 5,000 to 9,999 employees 975 121,835 6,773,466 337,598,036 n/a
Firms with 10,000 employees or more 981 678,182 33,025,346 1,579,560,498 n/a

Source: Statistics of U.S. Businesses (See industry and state detail) and Nonemployer Statistics

Table 2b. Employment Size of Employer and Nonemployer Firms, 2007
Introductory text includes scope and methodology.Table includes both establishments with payroll and nonemployers. For descriptions of column headings and rows (industries), click on the appropriate underlined element in the table.
Employment size of enterprise Firms Estab-
lish-
ments
Paid
employees
Annual
payroll
($1,000)
Sales or
Receipts
($1,000)
All firms 27,757,676 29,413,039 120,604,265 5,026,778,232

30,738.533,467

Nonemployer firms 21,708,021 21,708,021 n/a n/a 991,791,563
Employer firms 6,049,655 7,705,018 120,604,265 5,026,778,232 29,746,741,904
Firms with 1 to 4 employees (or with no employees as of Mar 12) 3,705,275 3,710,700 6,139,463 234,921,325 1,434,680,823
Firms with 5 to 9 employees 1,060,250 1,073,875 6,974,591 222,419,546 1,144,930,232
Firms with 10 to 19 employees 644,842 682,410 8,656,182 292,088,277 1,395,498,431
Firms with 20 to 99 employees 532,391 723,385 20,922,960 768,546,555 3,792,920,977
Firms with 100 to 499 employees 88,586 355,853 17,173,728 686,862,018 3,612,050,221
Firms with 500 employees or more 18,311 1,158,795 60,737,341 2,821,940,511 18,366,661,220
Firms with 500 to 749 employees 6,094 71,702 3,695,682 152,059,022 800,475,934
Firms with 750 to 999 employees 2,970 45,990 2,561,972 109,833,289 636,199,229
Firms with 1,000 to 1,499 employees 2,916 59,311 3,552,259 153,957,992 792,993,702
Firms with 1,500 to 1,999 employees 1,542 46,221 2,664,416 120,606,441 695,739,349
Firms with 2,000 to 2,499 employees 942 36,388 2,094,728 94,001,450 544,038,807
Firms with 2,500 to 4,999 employees 1,920 118,282 6,687,266 320,640,371 1,979,674,138
Firms with 5,000 employees or more 1,927 780,901 39,481,018 1,870,841,946 12,917,540,061
Firms with 5,000 to 9,999 employees 952 115,222 6,628,415 324,791,017 2,263,012,551
Firms with 10,000 employees or more 975 665,679 32,852,603 1,546,050,929 10,654,527,510
While most of these data are published every year, receipts data are available for employers only for the years for which an economic census is taken (2007, 2002, 1997).

Source: Statistics of U.S. Businesses (See industry and state detail) and Nonemployer Statistics

Economic Census Establishment and Firm Size reports, present national data classified by NAICS industry.

Statistics of U.S. Businesses is published each year for the U.S., states, metropolitan areas, and, for selected years only, counties. Classification is by the employment size of the overall enterprise, but by the location and NAICS industry of the establishment. Customized tabulations are also available.

U.S. - All industries - by Year
Introductory text includes scope and methodology. Table includes only establishments with payroll. Nonemployers are shown separately. For descriptions of column headings and rows (industries), click on the appropriate underlined element in the table.
More
data
Year Firms by employment size of enterprise Paid employees by employment size of enterprise
Total20 + 100 +500 + Total20 + 100 +500 +
link to 2008 detail 2008 5,930,132 10.7% 1.8% 0.3% 120,903,551 82.2% 65.1% 50.6%
link to 2007 detail 2007 6,049,655 10.6% 1.8% 0.3% 120,604,265 81.9% 64.6% 50.4%
link to 2006 detail 2006 6,022,127 10.7% 1.8% 0.3% 119,917,165 82.0% 64.4% 49.8%
link to 2005 detail 2005 5,983,546 10.5% 1.8% 0.3% 116,317,003 81.7% 64.1% 49.6%
link to 2004 detail 2004 5,885,784 10.7% 1.8% 0.3% 115,074,924 81.6% 63.6% 49.1%
link to 2003 detail 2003 5,767,127 10.7% 1.8% 0.3% 113,398,043 81.6% 63.8% 49.3%
link to 2002 detail 2002 5,697,759 10.7% 1.7% 0.3% 112,400,654 81.7% 64.0% 49.9%
link to 2001 detail 2001 5,657,774 11.0% 1.8% 0.3% 115,061,184 82.1% 64.4% 50.1%
link to 2000 detail 2000 5,652,544 10.9% 1.8% 0.3% 114,064,976 82.0% 64.2% 49.9%
link to 1999 detail 1999 5,607,743 10.7% 1.7% 0.3% 110,705,661 81.6% 63.8% 49.7%
link to 1998 detail 1998 5,579,177 10.6% 1.7% 0.3% 108,117,731 81.2% 63.3% 49.1%
  1997 5,541,918 10.5% 1.7% 0.3% 105,299,123 80.9% 62.7% 48.2%
  1996 5,478,047 10.4% 1.7% 0.3% 102,187,297 80.5% 62.3% 48.0%
  1995 5,369,068 10.5% 1.7% 0.3% 100,314,946 80.5% 62.1% 47.5%
  1994 5,276,964 10.2% 1.7% 0.3% 96,721,594 80.2% 61.9% 47.3%
  1993 5,193,642 10.2% 1.7% 0.3% 94,773,913 79.9% 61.5% 46.9%
  1992 5,095,356 10.3% 1.6% 0.3% 92,825,797 79.8% 61.3% 47.0%
  1991 5,051,025 10.3% 1.6% 0.3% 92,307,559 79.7% 61.2% 46.9%
  1990 5,073,795 10.6% 1.7% 0.3% 93,469,275 79.8% 60.8% 46.3%
  1989 5,021,315 10.5% 1.7% 0.3% 91,626,094 79.7% 60.7% 46.1%
  1988 4,954,645 10.3% 1.6% 0.3% 87,844,303 79.1% 60.0% 45.5%
Source: Statistics of U.S. Businesses


Employment Size of Establishments

A number of sources provide information by employment size of establishment: several reports from with national data from the 2007 Economic Census, and the annual County Business Patterns which includes statistics by state. metro area, county, and ZIP Code. Most scholars prefer to define small business in terms of the size of the entire company or firm, not individual establishments. For example, most researchers would prefer to classify a large fast-food chain as a large company rather than as a collection of small establishments.

Economic Census Establishment and Firm Size reports, present national data classified by NAICS industry.


Receipt Size of Firms

Table 3. Receipt Size of Employer Firms, 2007
See the explanatory text for methodology, contact names, and other data available. For descriptions of column heading, click on that element in the table.
Receipts Size of Enterprise Firms Estab-
lish-
ments
Paid
employees
Annual
payroll
($1,000)
Sales or
Receipts
($1,000)
Employer firms 6,049,655 7,705,018 120,604,265 5,026,778,232 29,746,741,904
Less than $100,000 1,305,233 1,305,986 1,819,621 25,960,943 61,210,592
$100,000-499,999 2,394,168 2,401,076 8,146,397 173,879,138 608,894,770
$500,000-999,999 908,635 923,958 6,723,289 182,060,621 641,553,968
$1,000,000-2,499,999 758,595 813,052 10,317,058 322,308,981 1,177,399,522
$2,500,000-4,999,999 311,271 376,161 7,757,850 276,120,363 1,086,482,976
$5,000,000-7,499,999 115,476 164,063 4,530,513 172,852,732 701,673,005
$7,500,000-9,999,999 58,822 95,294 3,086,011 121,758,219 508,020,210
$10,000,000-14,999,999 62,468 119,982 4,338,364 173,887,341 758,667,466
$15,000,000-19,999,999 32,292 76,520 2,961,726 120,919,167 556,844,154
$20,000,000-24,999,999 20,137 54,079 2,201,318 92,339,910 448,894,669
$25,000,000-29,999,999 13,678 41,723 1,800,640 75,540,186 373,746,067
$30,000,000-34,999,999 9,807 31,918 1,507,405 61,765,492 317,129,331
$35,000,000-39,999,999 7,289 27,176 1,230,398 52,340,200 272,513,425
$40,000,000-44,999,999 5,767 23,604 1,075,209 45,739,259 243,892,639
$45,000,000-49,999,999 4,547 20,055 943,369 39,528,117 215,490,512
$50,000,000-74,999,999 14,026 72,501 3,573,919 153,521,056 852,712,438
$75,000,000-99,999,999 6,839 49,649 2,463,475 106,072,301 591,372,207
$100,000,000 or more 20,605 1,108,221 56,127,703 2,830,184,206 20,330,243,953

Source: Statistics of U.S. Businesses, 2007

Statistics of U.S. Businesses tables showing receipt size by NAICS industry of the establishment are accessible as spreadsheets for 2007, 2002 and 1997. Receipts size detail is less than shown in Establishment and Firm Size reports cited below.

Economic Census Establishment and Firm Size reports, present national data classified by the NAICS industry of the establishment.

Corresponding data for 1992, from 1992 Enterprise Statistics, differ somewhat in methodology. The PDF presents these statistics by SIC industry of the parent company. (Enterprise Statistics was not funded for years after 1992.)


[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.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Business & Industry | (301)763-2547 | econ@census.gov | Last Revised: August 22, 2012