Alongside the broader trend of female labor force participation rising since the 1950s, female entrepreneurship has also been increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of women business owners grew by 4.1 percentage points from 2005 to 2017. Currently, women make up 31.1% of business owners in the U.S., continuing the upward trend from the past several years.
Even though women represent almost a third of business owners in the U.S., they are not evenly represented across industries. For example, more than half of business owners in the “Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance” industry are women, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.
Female business ownership is also common in service businesses such as beauty salons and personal care services. Higher numbers of women also own businesses in the arts, entertainment, recreation, and food service industries. By contrast, women business owners are underrepresented in the “Information,” “Wholesale Trade,” “Transportation and Warehousing, and Utilities,” and “Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, and Mining” industries. In fact, only 16.1% of agriculture-related businesses are owned by women.
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