Business Booming for Women-owned Businesses

April 3, 2000 ( - Census data reveals that US women-owned businesses are growing at triple the rate of all other businesses - but critics say that's only half the story.

The US Census Bureau 1997 survey on US women-owned businesses have come under criticism by the National Women’s Business Council, a federal government advisory commission.

The survey is held every five years and forms part of the Economic Census.

Survey Says

  • The growth of women-owned businesses continues to be triple the growth rate of all other businesses.
  • The number of women-owned businesses has increased by 250%, from 2.6 million to an estimated 9.1million in the last 20 years.
  • These businesses employ 27.5 million people.
  • Approximately $3.6 trillion is generated in sales annually.

Left Unsaid

The survey covers only 65% of all women owned businesses, omitting:

  • Businesses that are jointly owned by a woman and a man,
  • Companies that are less than 51% owned by women and
  • Women-led, publicly owned C-corporations.

The survey also fails to mention that revenues of the largest 500 women-led firms totaled $100 billion. These firms employ nearly 400,000, according to Working Women 500, a catalog of the largest women-owned businesses in the US.

The National Women’s Business Council is a federal government advisory commission, created by Congress to serve as an independent source of advice on issues of importance to women entrepreneurs. They plan to convene a task force to examine the inclusion of all women-owned businesses in future economic surveys.