Summary: The number of firms with paid employees per 100 persons in the labor force ages 16 or older. Firms are classified by race/ethnicity and gender based on the self-identification of the majority owner. With the exception of Whites, all racial groups include people of Hispanic origin who self-identify with that racial identity.
Data Source(s): U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 and 2012 Survey of Business Owners, 2017 Annual Business Survey, 2009, 2014, and 2017 American Community Survey 5-year Summary Files.
Universe: Firms include all nonfarm businesses filing Internal Revenue Service tax forms as firms with paid employees and with receipts of $1,000 or more.
Methods: Data on the number of firms with paid employees, industry, and race/ethnicity and gender of the proprietor was collected from the 2007 and 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) and 2017 Annual Business Survey (ABS) for all Atlas geographies. To be consistent across breakdowns and cuts by race/ethnicity and gender, firm counts for all breakdowns were restricted to firms classifiable by race, gender, and veteran status. A single firm may be tabulated in more than one racial/ethnic group category. This can result because the sole owner was reported to be of more than one race, the majority owner was reported to be of more than one race, or a majority combination of owners was reported to be of more than one race. The denominator used to calculate the number of firms per 100 persons in the labor force age 16 or older by race/ethnicity and gender was merged in from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year summary file for the 2007 SBO data and the 2014 ACS 5-year summary file for the 2012 SBO data. These years of the ACS summary file were chosen because the central year of each five-year pool aligns with the year of the SBO data (e.g. the central year of the 2014 5-year ACS, which covers years 2010-2014 is 2012).
Beginning in 2017, the SBO was discontinued and replaced with the ABS. One advantage of the shift to the ABS is that the data are released annually and are thus more current. One major disadvantage,however, is that the ABS data are based on a smaller sample of firms, particularly in years that do not align with the Economic Census (those ending with a two or a seven), and do not report data for many smaller geographies and more detailed groups defined by race/ethnicity and gender. For example, while the SBO reports data for over 20 racial/ethnic groups for the nation, states, CBSAs, counties, and places and also reports data disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender at the national and state levels, the 2017 ABS only reports such detailed data at the national and state levels. The 2018 ABS data are only reported for 7 racial/ethnic groups and only by race or gender instead of race and gender, and only at the state level or higher. Moreover, the sample size of the 2018 ABS (the most recent data available at the time of the last update of the business ownership indicator), and presumably all subsequent years of the ABS until the next Economic Census in 2022, is too small to be of use for the Bay Area Equity Atlas given that it only reports data down to the metropolitan area level.
And while the timelier release schedule for the ABS is a good thing, it did lead us to draw data for the denominator (the number of people in the labor force age 16 or older) from a relatively older vintage of the ACS summary file for 2017 (and later years) compared with earlier years of the indicator; we shifted to combining the ABS data with ACS 5-year summary file data from the corresponding year (e.g. 2017 ABS with the 2017 ACS 5-year summary file). This shift ensures that the ACS data needed for the denominator will be available at the time the new ABS data are released with the downside being that the central year of the ACS sample is two years older than the ABS data.
See the methodology page for other relevant notes.
- With the exception of Whites, all racial groups include people of Hispanic origin who self-identify with that racial identity.
- Estimates for small geographies and/or demographic groups are often not reported because the data does not meet ABS/SBO publication standards.
- Data for Asian or Pacific Islanders reflects only the Asian population (i.e. it excludes Pacific Islanders).
- No data is available for the mixed/other racial group since it is not identified in the ABS data.
- No data on the number of firms per 100 workers (i.e. persons in the labor force age 16 or older) are reported if the calculated rate came out to more than 100 or if there are fewer than 1,000 workers in the denominator.
- Total firm counts for all breakdowns are restricted to firms classifiable by race, gender, and veteran status.
- No data are available for the Nine-county Bay Area region and sub-counties.