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Most Nonemployer Businesses Owned by U.S.-Born But Foreign-Born Hispanic and Asian Owners Had a Large Presence in Some Sectors

Lynda Lee

Most U.S. business owners with no employees were U.S.-born but in some sectors and demographic groups, including Asian and Hispanic populations, more business owners were foreign-born.

About 77.9% of owners of nonemployer businesses — firms that do not have paid employees — were native-born and 22.1% were born outside of the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D), the most recent estimates available.

While 22.1% of owners were born outside of the United States, only 14.3% of all nonemployer business owners were not U.S. citizens.

The NES-D released the first set of demographic characteristics of nonemployer businesses last year and there are plans to include the NES-D data in future releases of the employer-based counterpart the Annual Business Survey (ABS).

While 22.1% of owners were born outside of the United States, only 14.3% of all nonemployer business owners were not U.S. citizens. 

 

Nonemployer Business Owners by Birth Place and Citizenship Status

Nativity of Owners Varies by Sector

According to the stats, 58.6% of Hispanic nonemployer business owners in the Accommodation and Food Services sector — 18.1% of all owners in this sector — were foreign-born in 2017.

There was a similar pattern in this sector among Asian business owners with an even larger gap between native- and foreign born: 86.6% were born outside the United States and 13.4% born in the country.

In contrast, the majority of White and Black or African American U.S. business owners were native-born.  

 

Nonemployer Business Owners in the Accommodation and Food Services Sector by Place of Birth by Race and Ethnicity

 

In the Retail Trade sector, the majority of Black or African American owners (119,000 or 74.1%) and White owners (1,594,000 or 88.0%) were born in the United States. 

 

Nonemployer Business Owners in the Retail Sector by Place of Birth by Race and Ethnicity

 

Of all Hispanic business owners in the Information sector, 20,500 or 61.2% were born in the United States.

In contrast, the majority — 15,500 or 67.4% — of Asian business owners in this sector were born abroad. 

 

Nonemployer Business Owners in the Information Sector by Place of Birth by Race and Ethnicity

 

For additional data on characteristics like race, sex, ethnicity and veteran status of business owners, visit the Annual Business Survey Program (ABS)

 

Lynda Lee is a supervisory survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Data User and Trade Outreach Branch.

 

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