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About BFS

The Business Formation Statistics (BFS) are a product of the U.S. Census Bureau developed in research collaboration with economists affiliated with Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, University of Maryland, and University of Notre Dame. The current BFS is released as a research product in “beta” form. A final version is in the research and development phase.

The Business Formation Statistics (BFS) provide timely and high frequency data on:

  • Business applications as indicated by applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Actual and projected business formations originating from business applications based on the record of first payroll tax liability for an EIN
  • Delay in business formation as indicated by the average duration between business application and business formation


The BFS data cover:

  • The period starting from the third quarter of 2004 (2004q3) at a quarterly frequency
  • The United States - nationwide and individual states


The Census Bureau’s Research Matters blog about the BFS release (February 2018)

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