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Survey of Business Owners (SBO)

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Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS): 2007

Special Release

Issued August 2012

The first-ever Survey of Business Owners Public Use Microdata Sample is now available. The SBO PUMS was created using responses from the 2007 SBO and provides access to survey data at a level of detail below that of the currently published SBO results. The SBO PUMS will allow researchers to create customized tables and models and to study entrepreneurial activity and the relationships between business characteristics such as access to capital, firm size, employer-paid benefits, minority- and women-ownership, and firm age.

This PUMS file provides information at the national and state levels by industry sector for businesses classifiable by the gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status of the majority owners:

● Firm size ● Business characteristics ● Business owner characteristics
  • Sales and receipts
  • Number of employees
  • Annual payroll
  • Year business was established
  • Source(s) and amount of financing for start up capital
  • Source(s) of expansion capital
  • Whether the business was home-based, family-owned, or franchised
  • Types of workers and customers
  • Business outsourced or established operations outside the United States
  • Percent of total sales exported
  • Language(s) used in transactions
  • Employer-paid benefits offered
  • Whether the business had a website
  • E-commerce as percentage of total sales
  • Seasonal or part-time business status
  • Business operating or reason ceased
  • Number of owners of business
  • Age of the owner in 2007 and highest level of education completed
  • Average hours per week spent working
  • Owner's primary function(s) in the business
  • Year and how the business was acquired
  • Whether the owner was born in the United States
  • Whether the owner had prior experience owning a business
  • Whether the business provided the owner's primary source of personal income
  • Service-disabled veteran status, if the owner was a veteran


Policies and statistical safeguards ensure that both the records within and any tabulations produced from the PUMS file will not identify any individuals or businesses.

Methods of preventing disclosure include the extensive review and analysis of the PUMS file prior to its release, as well as the use of data suppression, data modification, and noise infusion. Publicly held and other firms not classifiable by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status are excluded. Records for states with fewer than 100,000 weighted businesses are combined with the records of similar states, i.e., North Dakota and South Dakota, Rhode Island and Vermont, etc. The noise-infusion method for disclosure avoidance is applied to the estimates of receipts, employment, and payroll. Please read the Methodology page for more information on disclosure avoidance techniques.

Contact Information

For special tabulations of the SBO data that the PUMS will not satisfy, please contact the SBO staff by e-mail at or by phone at 800.242.2184 to discuss cost estimates and exact specifications for the type and format of the data requested.


File title File type
Data Users Guide for the Public Use Microdata Sample file - This document provides a brief description of the SBO, differences between the SBO data and the records available on the PUMS file, and how to determine company-level characteristics and create estimates from the PUMS data. Also included in the file are the data dictionary and example estimates. pdf [248.0K]
PUMS file - NOTE: File contains over 2 million rows and cannot be opened with common spreadsheet software. csv (zip) [52.7M] sas7bdat [295.0M]

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