Small Business Owners


I’m trying to find out the number of small business owners in a certain state and separated by particular demographics, what variables should I use to figure out the owners, say if i wanted to cross-reference that data with different age groups or by location etc.

As a follow-up, I’m talking about using the US’s census data or the latest ACS 5 year series, apologies for the lack of information, I’m new to this site.

Unfortunately, there is not a direct way for you to specifically identify small business owners in IPUMS USA data (you can identify those who are self employed using CLASSWKR, but there is no indicator of the size of the business). You may be able to find what you are looking for using IPUMS CPS. Using the ASEC samples, you could use CLASSWKR to identify respondents who are self-employed. PAIDEMP1/PAIDEMP2 and PAINEMP1N/PAIDEMP2N would then help you identify if the self-employed person has paid employees and how how many, respectively. With this, your definition of what a “small business” is would have to depend on the number of paid employees. While imperfect, it may help you conduct your analysis.

You may also want to consider looking into the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO). It looks like microdata is available for 2007 here.

1 Like