Women-owned businesses increase 59% since 1997, study says

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The number of businesses owned by women in the United States has increased 59% since 1997, according to an estimate from American Express.

Those 8.6 million firms are generating more than $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.8 million people, according to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express Open, a small-business arm of the company.

California leads the nation with an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by women, employing 983,000 people and generating about $198 million in sales, according to the report.


One in three of those were minority-owned, researchers said.

The report is based on data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey of businesses conducted every five years. American Express used information from 1997, 2002 and 2007 surveys to predict the 2013 figures.

Although the number of women-owned businesses continues to grow, the report said, they employ only 6% of the nation’s workforce and generate just under 4% of business revenue, about the same as in 1997.

The highest concentrations of women-owned businesses were in the areas of health and social assistance, educational services and administrative support.

Women-owned firms in construction, transportation and finance didn’t do as well, the study said.

The states with the fastest growth of women-owned businesses were Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Nevada. Alaska, West Virginia, Iowa, Ohio and Kansas had the slowest growth.

Quiz: How well do you remember 2012?


California is the only state that has 1 million or more women-owned firms, according to the report. Texas was ranked second with an estimated 737,000 businesses.

In Los Angeles, the number of women-owned businesses grew from 345,436 in 2002 to an estimated 432,300 in 2013. Researchers believe that they employ 394,600 people in 2013, up from 345,436 in 2002.


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