Who Owns Hoosier Businesses?

There are more than 400,000 firms doing business in Indiana (see Table 1). The basic demographics of the owners of those firms will be highlighted in this article based on the Survey of Business Owners recently released by the Census Bureau.

Table 1: Firms in the United States and Indiana by Gender and Race, 2002

Table 1
Click for larger image

Out of 433,968 firms surveyed as doing business in Indiana, one-fourth of those (109,811) have paid employees and generated sales and receipts in 2002 of $482 billion. The remaining firms do business as sole proprietors or have relatives or friends working for the business but not being paid—or at least not in such a way that it is reported via the standard W-2 forms required for tax purposes. Firms with no paid employees generated sales and receipts of $12 billion (see Table 2).

Table 2: Indiana Firms without Employees, 2002

Table 2
Click for larger image

  • Most Indiana firms (75 percent) have no paid employees.
  • Most sales and receipts (97 percent) are generated by firms with paid employees.
  • Men own 56.3 percent of all Indiana firms.
  • Most Indiana firms are owned by whites (92 percent, compared to 87 percent nationally).
  • Five out of six African American-owned firms have no employees.
  • Four out of five women-owned firms have no employees.
  • Three out of five Asian-owned firms have no employees.

Many readers may be dismayed that the reference year of this survey is 2002. However, it is the best available public data we have that helps us understand business owner demographics and helps put hard figures behind some of the assumptions we may have about who owns our businesses in Indiana.

Carol O. Rogers, Executive Editor
Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University