NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 25, 1996

A wave of black entrepreneurs is forming businesses at a record clip, according to recent statistics, amid evidence that minority preferences in contracting may not be playing the role they once did.

According to recent Census Bureau data:

  • Between 1987 and 1992, the number of black-owned firms in the U. S. surged 46 percent to a total of 621,000 businesses.
  • This was during a time that the overall number of businesses increased just 26 percent.
  • The number of wealthier black households -- with annual incomes of $75,000 or more -- increased from 1.7 percent in 1970 to 5.2 percent in 1993.
  • Between 1972 and 1993, the number of blacks enrolled in colleges and universities nearly doubled, to 1.4 million.

Traditionally, the most common form of black-owned business was in the service sector -- barber or beauty shops, for example. Now the fastest growing sectors are business services, legal services, insurance and real estate. The number of minority-owned construction firms, which are given preferences in federal and state contracting programs, grew by 68 percent between 1982 and 1987, but by only 16 percent between 1987 and 1992.

Source: Laura M. Litvan, "The Changing Face of Ownership," Investor's Business Daily, June 25, 1996.


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