Small-Business Statistics: By the Numbers as of 2021

More businesses than usual closed due to the coronavirus, but new business applications were on the rise in 2020.

Kelsey SheehyMay 14, 2021
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Have you ever wondered how many small businesses are owned by women? Maybe you’re curious what percentage of new businesses make it to the 10-year mark. Or how the coronavirus has impacted small businesses across the country.

Federal agencies like the Small Business Administration, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics keep tabs on nearly every facet of the small-business economy. Surveys from nonprofits and private groups help round out the picture.

The following small-business statistics give a snapshot of the business landscape in the U.S as of 2021.

Small-business statistics: General facts

10.5 million jobs created

Small businesses created 10.5 million net new jobs between 2000 and 2019, accounting for 65.1% of net new jobs created since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics report.

19.9% of businesses are owned by women

According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Annual Business Survey, about 19.9% of all businesses were owned by women. Of the nearly 1.1 million women-owned businesses, roughly 92% had fewer than 20 employees.

20% of new businesses close within a year

Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. Around 20% of new businesses close within a year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While most businesses will find short-term success, only a handful have long-term staying power. Just 34% of businesses make it to their 10th anniversary, according to the BLS data.

30% of SBA microloans went to startups

Business owners hoping to secure a startup loan may be encouraged to learn that 30% of SBA microloans issued in fiscal year 2020 went to startups, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Small-business statistics: Shopping small

$48 of every $100 spent at a small business stays local

When you spend $100 at a small business, $48 stays in the community, according to the Small Business Administration. Spend the same $100 at a big-box store or national retailer, and only $14 stays.

37% of Americans made more of an effort to shop local

In a May 2020 survey commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted by The Harris Poll, 37% of Americans said they made more of an effort to support local businesses as a result of the pandemic.

72% of Americans prioritized shopping local over getting the best deal

Deal hunting isn’t the only priority for shoppers. In a November 2020 survey by Union Bank, 72% of Americans said supporting small businesses was more important than getting the best deal. Plus, 43% said they were willing to spend $20 more on an item to support a small or local business.

Small-business statistics: Coronavirus pandemic

$782 billion of PPP funding approved

The Paycheck Protection Program was created in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The program provides fully forgivable loans to small-business owners hit hard by the pandemic. As of May 10, 2021, $782,242,932,526 in PPP loans have been approved by the SBA.

Of the 5.6 million PPP loans approved in 2021, 5 million went to businesses with 10 or fewer employees

About 5.6 million PPP loans were approved in 2021, according to data released by the SBA on May 2, 2021. Of those loans, about 5 million went to businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

85.1% of PPP loans issued in 2021 were for $50,000 or less

Of the PPP loans issued in 2021 (through May 2), 85.1% were for $50,000 or less. And the average PPP loan issued in 2021 was $46,000, according to the SBA.

31% of small-business owners who temporarily closed due to COVID attribute their reopening to customer support

Many small businesses closed temporarily due to the pandemic. Of those that closed and later reopened, 31% say customer support is one of the main reasons they were able to do so, according to a January 2021 report from Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable, a coalition of organizations that advocate for businesses and entrepreneurs.

600,000 business establishments close in a given year

Business closures are normal. In recent years, roughly 600,000 business establishments closed in any given year. But between March 2020 and February 2021, an estimated 200,000 additional establishments closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. That’s above and beyond the normal churn.

4.3 million new business applications were filed in 2020

While COVID-19 forced some businesses to close, 2020 also brought a flood of new business applications. Around 4.3 million business applications were filed in 2020, up 24% from 2019 and 51% higher than the 2010-2019 average, according to the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics.