In 1997, there were 5.4 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.1 million people and generating $818.7 billion in revenues. (The 1997 Economic Census defines women-owned businesses as privately held firms in which women own 51 percent or more of the firm.) These firms made up 26 percent of the nation’s 20.8 million nonfarm businesses (Figure 1), employed 7 percent of the 103 million workers and generated 4 percent of the $18.6 trillion in receipts.
The number of women-owned firms increased 16 percent from 1992 to 1997, compared to a 6 percent increase for U.S. firms in general (excluding publicly held corporations); their receipts, meanwhile, increased 33 percent over the period, compared with a 24 percent increase for all firms.
In addition to the majority women-owned firms, there were 3.6 million equally owned (male-female) firms, comprising 17 percent of all nonfarm businesses.