U.S. Census Bureau Releases New Data on Business Owner Demographics

On December 16, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2018 Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D), a data program providing annual estimates of the number and receipts of nonemployer business owners by race, ethnicity, sex, and veteran status. NES-D is partially funded by the Office of Advocacy, an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The NES-D dataset spotlights nonemployers, which are businesses without employees. The data set illustrates how different groups fare in an important type of entrepreneurship. While much has changed since 2018, this annually released data is an important benchmark for tracking impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on differing owner demographics.

Tables for the NES-D data program, organized by owner characteristics, sales size of firm, and legal form of organization, can be found on the Census site here. Additionally, the NES-D data series offers both industry detail and state and metro area breakdowns.

For Advocacy research on business owner demographics and other issues, please visit the Office of Advocacy website. To access NES-D data, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

All Firms (Employers and Nonemployers) by Owner Type, 2018

Owner TypeNumber of Total FirmsTotal Sales ($billions)Nonemployer Share of FirmsNonemployer Share of Sales
Black or African American3,239,55120196.2%36.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native113,4333778.5%8.2%
Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander46,6531385.7%10.6%


Note: Figures represent majority owned (equally-owned by multiple owners is not listed above).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, NES-D, ABS