Who is the Entrepreneur? Race and Ethnicity, Age, and Immigration Trends Among New Entrepreneurs in the United States, 1996–2019

Summary of Study

Bottom line: This study examines new entrepreneurs between 1996 and 2019 by race and ethnicity, age, and nativity. Over the past quarter-century, the share of minority and immigrant entrepreneurs has increased significantly. In addition, entrepreneurs have grown older, with those aged 55 to 64 representing 25 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2019. 

Entrepreneurs in this study are defined as the percentage of adults who start a business each month, regardless of business size, origin, growth potential, or intentions. 

Key entrepreneurship trends between 1996 and 2019 include: 

The share of entrepreneurs who are minorities has increased:
The share of all new entrepreneurs who are Latino more than doubled between 1996 and 2019 while the share who are White decreased over the same time period. Between 1996 and 2019, the Latino share increased from 10.0% to 22.8%, the Black share increased from 8.4% to 10.1%, the White share decreased from 77.1% to 58.0%, and the Asian share increased from 3.4% to 7.0%. The share of all new entrepreneurs who are Latino nearly doubled over the time period.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the White and Black shares of new entrepreneurs fell by 4.5 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively, while the Latino and Asian shares increased by 4.7 and 1.2 percentage points.

The average age of new entrepreneurs has grown older:
New entrepreneurs were largely young in 1996 yet were more likely to represent all ages by 2019. Between 1996 and 2019, the share of new entrepreneurs aged 20–34 decreased from 34.3% to 27.2%. Over the same time period, the share of new entrepreneurs aged 35–44 decreased from 27.4% to 22.9% and the share of new entrepreneurs aged 45–54 increased slightly from 23.5% to 24.8%. Those aged 55–64 represented about 1 in 4 new entrepreneurs in 2019 (25.1%), compared to 14.8% in 1996.

In 2019, about half of new entrepreneurs were aged 20–44, and half were aged 45–64. Those aged 20–44 accounted for 61.7% of new entrepreneurs in 1996, compared to 50.1% in 2019, while those aged 45–64 accounted for 38.3% in 1996 and 49.9% in 2019. 

The share of entrepreneurs who are immigrants has increased:
In 2019, about 1 in 4 new entrepreneurs was an immigrant. Immigrants accounted for 25.4% of all new entrepreneurs in 2019 -- nearly twice the share of immigrant entrepreneurs in 1996 (13.3%). Over this time period, the share of new entrepreneurs who were native-born decreased from 86.7% to 74.6%.

Read the full study HERE

Feature Charticle

Share of New Entrepreneurship by Nativity

Kauffman Foundation

Findings:

  • Immigrants accounted for 25.4% of all new entrepreneurs in 2019, which represents nearly twice the share of new entrepreneurs in 1996 (13.3%).
  • Over this time period, the share of new entrepreneurs who were native-born decreased from 86.7% to 74.6%.
  • The increase in immigrant entrepreneurship over the period 1996 to 2019 coincided with increases in the share of minority and older entrepreneurs. 

Read the full study HERE