Growth in Women-Owned Businesses Outpacing Total Business Growth in Region, State and U.S.

Women-owned businesses hire more employees but generate lower share of revenues

An image of a woman business owner

Businesses owned by women now make up more than one-third of all businesses in the United States, in California, and in the Inland Southern California region.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – A new analysis of recently available Census data finds that businesses owned by women now make up more than one-third of all businesses in the United States, in California, and in the Inland Southern California region – a greater share than the last time this data was published.

The study, released today by the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at the University of California, Riverside’s School of Business Administration, examines data from the U.S Census Bureau’s newest Survey of Business Owners, which is published once every five years and provides the most current snapshot of the nation’s proprietors. The most recent survey includes data on business owners through 2012 and was released this past December.

The new analysis finds that from 2007 to 2012, the number of women-owned businesses grew 26.8% in the U.S., 27% in California, and a whopping 35% in Inland Southern California. Comparatively, the rate of growth among ‘all businesses’ was much slower: 3.7% in the U.S., 5% in California, and 8% in inland Southern California. With this growth, women-owned businesses now comprise over one-third of all businesses in the U.S. (36.3%), California (37.8%), and Inland Southern California (39.2%).

“This data tells us that women-owned businesses have not only proliferated, but have done so between 2007 and 2012 despite the intervening recession, a particularly difficult economic period for business creation,” said Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development Christopher Thornberg, one of the report’s lead authors.

The last time this Census data was published, women-owned businesses comprised approximately 29.6% of all businesses in the U.S., 31.6% in California, and 31.4% in Inland Southern California. The growth is helping to more closely align the share of women business owners with the share of women in the workforce, given the fact that women made up over half the employed workforce nationally (57.5%), in California (56.1%), and in Inland Southern California (51.2%) in 2012.

In addition to adding to their numbers, women-owned businesses bucked another recession-era trend and increased their hiring. From 2007 to 2012, employment at women-owned businesses grew 12.1% in the U.S., 8.5% in California, and 7.1% in Inland Southern California. At the same time, employment at all businesses went in the opposite direction, declining in the U.S. (-1%), California, (-5.4%), and Inland Southern California (-5.6%).  Still, despite their increase in share and greater hiring, women-owned businesses are relatively small and only employ 15% of the nation’s employed workforce, 16.1% of California’s employed workforce, and 14.3% of the workforce in Inland Southern California.

Women-owned businesses in Inland Southern California are also lagging all businesses when it comes to revenue growth. This is not true, however, for women-owned businesses in the state and nation. Revenues at women-owned businesses in the region grew just 5.8% from 2007 to 2012, while revenues at women-owned businesses in the state grew 10.2% and in the nation grew 18.7%. Revenues generated by all businesses grew 9.3% in the U.S., 8.2% in California, and 9.1% in Inland Southern California.

Despite revenue growth among women-owned businesses, they continue to account for a disproportionately small share of total business revenues. In Inland Southern California women-owned businesses make up nearly 40% of all businesses but generate only 14.2% of the region’s total business revenues. Similarly, women-owned businesses comprise 37.8% of California businesses but only generate 13.4% of total state revenues and comprise 36.3% of U.S. businesses, but only generate 11.9% of total national revenues.

Part of the reason for this may have to do with the fact that many of these women-owned businesses are relatively new, according to Thornberg. “Young businesses take time to grow and build revenues and that is likely playing a role in the revenue story.”

Additional Key Findings:

  • In Inland Southern California, women-owned businesses are heavily represented in the region’s growing industries, such as Healthcare and Social Assistance, less so in its flagship industry, Logistics and Distribution.
  • Healthcare businesses owned by women are more concentrated in Inland Southern California than they are in the state or nation, representing 71.2% of all healthcare businesses in the region.

The Center for Economic Forecasting and Development is releasing a series of three reports exploring minority business ownership in Inland Southern California. The first report, Minority Business Ownership in Inland Southern California: Changes and Trends, Women-Owned is available here.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4580
Twitter: snightingale

Additional Contacts

Christopher Thornberg
Tel: (310) 739-3286

Victoria Pike Bond, Director of Marketing & Communications, Center for Economic Forecasting
Tel: (415) 488-7195

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