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Tracking the Dream

Tue Sep 21 2010
Tom Mesenbourg
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Many Americans, those born here and those who immigrate, dream of opening a business and prospering according to their talents. The economic census offers a view of who owns America’s businesses and whether all population groups are sharing in the entrepreneurial opportunity.

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Every five years in years ending in 2 and 7, the Census Bureau conducts the economic census to measure the nation’s businesses. As part of the census, we take a Survey of Business Owners. Results from the 2007 survey tell us that one in five firms is a minority-owned business. In 2007, there were 5.8 million minority firms – 46 percent more than in 2002, the last time we measured this group.

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The survey also tells us that there were 7.8 million firms owned by women, a 20 percent increase over 2002. In addition, the survey reveals that 2.4 million firms were owned by veterans of the armed forces – the first time we have information on all veteran-owned firms.

Starting today, we are releasing more detailed data on the various groups. First up are the detailed data on Hispanic business owners, which we will unveil at a Census Bureau news conference today at 2 p.m. EDT. I invite you to watch over the Web.

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Over the next nine months, as the data for other groups are released, the nation’s cities and counties will gain a more complete picture of business ownership within their communities.

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Tom Mesenbourg is the Deputy Director of the US Census Bureau.

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