Numbers and Characteristics

  • There are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States.  This reflects a 20.1% increase from 2002 to 2007.
  • Women-owned firms make up 28.7% of all nonfarm businesses across the country and generate $1.2 trillion in total receipts.
  • A full 88.3% of these firms are non-employer firms.
  • The remaining 11.7% of the firms have paid employees, employing a total of 7.6 million people across the country with a payroll of $217.6 billion.  These employer firms have average receipts of $1.1 million.


  • The states with the largest percentage of women-owned businesses are: District of Columbia (34.5%), Maryland (32.6%), New Mexico (31.7%), Hawaii (31.0%), and Georgia (30.9%).
  • The counties with the largest percentage of women-owned businesses are: Bronx County, NY (40.5%), Wayne County, MI (36.7%), Kings County, NY (33.6%), Milwaukee County, WI (33.0%).
  • The cities2 with the largest percentage of women-owned businesses are: Detroit, MI (49.7%), Baltimore, MD (36.9%), Milwaukee, WI (36.3%), Chicago, IL (36.0%).


  • Women-owned businesses make up more than half (52.0%) of all businesses in health care and social assistance.
  • The other top industries for women include: educational services (45.9% of all businesses are women-owned), administration and support and waste management and remediation services (37.0%), retail trade (34.4%), and arts, entertainment, and recreation (30.4%).
  • Industries with the lowest percent of women-owned businesses include mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (15.0%), transportation and warehousing (11.4%), agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (10.3%), construction (7.9%), and management of companies and enterprises (6.7%).


The National Women’s Business Council is a non-partisan federal government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Members of the Council are prominent women business owners and leaders of women’s business organizations.