Survey of Business Owners (SBO)

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2002 Survey of Business Owners Summaries of Findings

Survey of Business Owners - Women-Owned Firms: 2002


Women owned 6.5 million nonfarm U.S. businesses in 2002, employing 7.1 million persons and generating $939.5 billion in business revenues. These women-owned firms accounted for 28.2 percent of all nonfarm businesses in the United States, 6.4 percent of their employment and 4.2 percent of their receipts. The 2002 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) defines women-owned businesses as firms in which women own 51 percent or more of the interest or stock of the business. The data in this report were collected as part of the 2002 Economic Census from a large sample of all nonfarm businesses filing 2002 tax forms as individual proprietorships, partnerships, or any type of corporation, and with receipts of $1,000 or more. Table A [xls, 25K] shows the number of firms and revenue for all U.S. businesses in 2002 by gender of ownership. In addition to the 6.5 million majority women-owned firms, there were 2.7 million equally male-/female-owned firms with $731.7 billion in receipts.


Thirty-two percent of women-owned firms operated in health care and social assistance, and other services (such as personal services, and repair and maintenance), where they owned 43.7 percent of all such businesses in the U.S. Wholesale and retail trade accounted for 38.2 percent of women-owned business revenue. Forty-two percent of the wholesale trade revenue was concentrated in wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers. Table B [xls, 21K] shows the industries accounting for the largest receipts for women-owned firms.


California had the most women-owned firms at 870,496 or 13.4 percent, with receipts of $137.7 billion or 14.7 percent. New York was second with 505,077 or 7.8 percent, with receipts of more than $70.8 billion or 7.5 percent. Texas was third in number of firms with 468,705, and with receipts of $65.8 billion. Texas accounted for 7.2 percent of all women-owned firms, and 7.0 percent of receipts. Table C [xls, 20K], Table D [xls, 20K], and Table E [xls, 20K] respectively, show the ten combined statistical areas, nine counties, and five cities with the largest number of women-owned firms and compare the firms and receipts for both counties and cities with the numbers in their corresponding states.


Women-owned firms with paid employees accounted for 14.1 percent of the total number of women-owned firms and 85.5 percent of gross receipts. There were 7,231 firms with 100 employees or more which accounted for $274.5 billion in gross receipts (34.2 percent of the total receipts of women-owned employer firms). There were 116,985 women-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more. These firms accounted for 1.8 percent of the total number of women-owned businesses and 66.6 percent of their total receipts.


The data for 2002 are not directly comparable to previous survey years below the U.S. total because of several significant changes to the survey methodology. The most significant change occurred in data presentation by kind of business with the transition from the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system to the 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Additional changes are discussed in detail in Methodology, in the section titled "Comparability of the 2002 and 1997 SBO Data."

Table F [xls, 22K] provides a comparison of the 2002 and 1997 published data for women- and male-owned and all U.S. firms. The table also shows that when compared to all U.S. businesses excluding publicly held corporations and other firms for which gender of ownership is indeterminate, women-owned firms accounted for 28.9 percent of firms, 12.9 percent of employees and 10.7 percent of receipts.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Survey of Business Owners | 1-800-242-2184 | | Last Revised: August 28, 2015