American military veterans owned 2.4 million businesses in 2007, or 9% percent of all U.S. businesses, the government agency announced. Such concerns “make a valuable contribution to our economy, but until now, we did not have a benchmark that measured their role,” said Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg, in a news release. “This is the first time that we can estimate the total number of veteran-owned businesses.”
The Census Bureau surveys business owners every five years as part of the economic census. Prior to 2007, it published only a few data points on veteran-owned businesses, which it defines as firms in which U.S. military veterans own 51% or more of the equity, interest or stock of the business.
The latest survey shows that California, Texas and Florida had the greatest number of veteran-owned businesses in 2007. Los Angeles County, Calif., had more veteran-owned businesses than any other county — 62,667 — or 2.6% of all such concerns nationwide.
Also in 2007, veteran-owned businesses employed 5.8 million people and averaged $2.3 million in gross annual sales. Two million veteran-owned businesses had no paid employees and these generated an average of $47,931 in annual sales.
Meanwhile, there were 270,852 businesses owned equally by veterans and nonveterans in 2007. They employed 2.4 million workers and earned $1.3 million in average annual sales.