The United States Census Bureau has estimated that there are more than two million black-owned businesses in the US. Of this number, 124,000 are defined as “employing companies”, meaning that they have employees in addition to the owner(s). According to the most recent data available from the census, 96 percent of black-owned businesses were non-employers, compared to 80 percent of all small businesses. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a part of the US Department of Commerce (DOC), has long been a leader in promoting and providing resources to minority-owned businesses.
The MBDA has several key initiatives designed to promote and support minority-owned businesses. Researchers have found that 50 US metros have the most black-owned businesses. They then compared those numbers to the total number of businesses within each metro to get the percentage of businesses owned by black. Unlike black-owned businesses, 86.5% of all businesses are white-owned, even though whites account for only 72.0% of the US population.
Nine of the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of black-owned businesses are in the south. In each of the nine metros, at least 25% of the metro's population is black. Fayetteville, North Carolina has 33% of its population as black, making it the seventh highest among 50 metros. The percentage of metro businesses owned by black is closer to parity with the percentage of African-Americans in the US.
Washington, D. C. has a quarter (25%) of its population as black, which is the lowest among any of the southern metros within the top 10; only St. Louis, in the Midwest, is lower at 18%.
Richmond, VA has three out of 10 Richmond residents as black, compared to 35% in Atlanta, sometimes referred to as the “Black Mecca”.The 10 poorest metros have a lower percentage of black residents compared to the US average. Except for Milwaukee, each of these metropolitan areas had black populations below 10%. Pittsburgh's black population is 8%, and it ranks 49th for its percentage of black-owned businesses at 1%. The San Diego metro has 5% black population and ranks 49th for its share of black-owned businesses at 1.1%.St.
Louis and Milwaukee have an approximately comparable percentage of black residents (16% and 18%, respectively). However, with only 1.8% of its black-owned businesses, Milwaukee ranks 41st for its share of black-owned businesses, while St. Louis ranks 11th with 6%.Birmingham, AL has 31% of its residents as black, making it the eighth highest metro in terms of black population. However, only 3.5% of its businesses are black-owned, placing it at No.
28. Researchers also looked at industries to see where black-owned small businesses are most prominent. Compared to national averages, black-owned businesses are more likely to be in healthcare and welfare, transportation and storage industries; these two industries account for 36% of all black-owned businesses. At 13.3%, companies in professional, scientific and technical services industry represent the second largest number of black-owned enterprises; construction remains in third place with 7.9%.35.4% of all black-owned businesses are owned by women; this means that they are more likely to be women-owned than the national average (20.9%). Women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than the national average; this may be representative of a broader national trend.