Total Nonemployer Establishments

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Nonemployer Statistics Updated annually.


A nonemployer business is one that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries), and is subject to federal income taxes. Nonemployer businesses are generally small, such as real estate agents and independent contractors. Nonemployers constitute nearly three-quarters of all businesses, but they contribute less than four percent of overall sales and receipts data. Nonemployers are not included in the counts of establishments from the Economic Census or County Business Patterns.

Generally, an establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted or services or industrial operations are performed. However, for nonemployers, each distinct business income tax return filed by a nonemployer business is counted as an establishment. Nonemployer businesses may operate from a home address or a separate physical location. A business is assigned to a county location based on the business owner's mailing address, which may not be the same as the physical location of the business.

Scope and Methodology:

Nonemployer statistics data originate chiefly from administrative records of the Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Social Security Administration. Data are primarily comprised of sole proprietorship businesses, although a portion of the data is derived from partnership and corporation businesses. These data undergo complex processing, editing, and analytical review at the Census Bureau to distinguish nonemployers from employers, correct and complete data items, and form the final nonemployer universe.

Puerto Rico and the Island Areas (American Samoa, Guam, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are excluded from Nonemployer Statistics.

The 2012 Nonemployer Statistics was published as part of the 2012 Economic Census, and some displays combine data for nonemployers and employers. Data for other years are published separately in the Nonemployer Statistics series.

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