The Best Places for Minority-Owned Businesses

Small Business, Starting a Business
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Johnny Travis was working at a San Francisco Bay Area financial firm in 2012 when the death of a friend made him question his vocation. “It made me think — any day could be my day,” Travis recalls. Since college, Travis had moonlighted by making T-shirts at home, and he decided to turn his passion into his profession by starting his own business.

“I thought, ‘If I’m going to be an entrepreneur, the time is now,’” says Travis, 33, who with business partner Herbert Gracia started FAZE Apparel. FAZE now has a store in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District and distributes its clothing through boutique stores across the U.S. and in Japan.

Travis was fortunate to start FAZE in his native San Francisco. A NerdWallet analysis of 178 metropolitan areas with populations of 250,000 or higher found that the Bay Area is home to three of the top 10 places to start a minority-owned business.

Minority entrepreneurs like Travis are the greatest force shaping the U.S. small-business landscape today. In the years after the recession that started in 2007, 2.2 million nonwhite Americans turned to entrepreneurship, according to government data released in December.

The growth of minority-owned businesses doesn’t just mirror broader demographic patterns — which predict non-Hispanic whites will become a minority in the U.S. by 2050 — but magnifies that trend: The number of minority small businesses nationwide grew 38% from 2007 through 2012, a rate more than triple the population growth of minorities, government data show.



Key takeaways

NerdWallet’s top 10 cities for minority entrepreneurs were determined by factors such as business climate, health of the local economy and access to small-business loans. They all share one important attribute: The employment rate in each recovered more strongly than that of the rest of the nation in the last three years. Unemployment in the top 10 cities averaged 4.7% from 2013 through 2015, compared with 6.2% nationally. Another common element of our top 10 cities: All ranked in the top 25% in terms of SBA loan amount per 100,000 residents. SBA-backed loans provide low-cost financing for small-business owners.

Our analysis of top places to start a minority-owned business didn’t look only at concentrations of minority businesses. If it had, five states — California, Texas, Florida, New York and Georgia — would have dominated the list because they’re home to 59% of America’s minority-owned businesses. Instead, we looked at where the conditions are most favorable for minorities to start a business.

Through that lens, California still punches above its weight nationally, with six metro areas making the top 25; Utah, with its fast-growing Hispanic population, had three spots in the top 25. The rest of the list is as diverse as the nation itself. The places where conditions are most favorable to start a minority-owned business stretch from Fayetteville, Arkansas, (No. 2) to Anchorage, Alaska, (No. 22) and Honolulu, Hawaii, (No. 24). They include areas where minorities now collectively constitute the majority of the local population (top-ranked San Jose, California) and a metropolitan area that is more than 90% white but where minority-owned businesses are making substantial gains (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, No. 3).

In 2005, Cedar Rapids business leaders founded Diversity Focus as a way to help attract more diverse talent to a community that was 95.5% white. Companies were having a hard time attracting and keeping minority employees, says Chad Simmons, CEO and president of Diversity Focus.

“People were coming to Cedar Rapids to work but leaving because they couldn’t build a life,” Simmons says.

The population of the Cedar Rapids metro area is now 91.2% white, but the number of Small Business Administration loans to minority businesses there grew 111% from 2007 through 2012, NerdWallet analysis shows. A disastrous 2008 flood bolstered government-backed loans to area businesses, accounting for some of that increase.

In many ways, Cedar Rapids is a microcosm of the state of minority-owned businesses in America: fantastic gains from a small base. Such businesses now make up 29% of all U.S. firms, up from 22% in 2007, but still only account for 4% of all business revenue in the U.S., according to government data. Access to capital is a profound challenge. Only 1% of venture-capital funded startups were founded by black entrepreneurs, for example, according to 2010 research by CB Insights.

Best places for minority-owned businesses

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

If you want a glimpse at America’s demographic future, look at San Jose. In 2013, the metropolitan area’s minorities collectively eclipsed its white population for the first time — 48.3% white compared with 51.3% the previous year, according to Census Bureau projections.

The San Jose metro area’s top ranking was driven by minority median income — which, at $83,406 in 2014, was tops among all 178 communities surveyed. That figure also ranked seventh-highest nationally as a percentage of overall metropolitan annual household income.

2. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri

This area, concentrated in northwest Arkansas, is home to the national headquarters of Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport and is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. The area ranked highly in terms of growth for minority businesses and was 24th for SBA loans per 100,000 residents.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says this about the impact of minorities on the “widespread growth” of the region: “Nearly 30% of residents in Springdale and in Rogers are Hispanic or Latino, about twice the national rate. More than 10% of the firms in each of these cities are Hispanic-owned.”

3. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids was spared the brunt of the economic downturn — its unemployment rate topped out at 6.5% in December 2009. “During the recession, we had less of a fall and a quicker recovery,” said Simmons, the city’s Diversity Focus CEO. “There was a lot of migration of people from Illinois and other harder-hit areas, and the majority of that growth was people of color.”

The rebuilding efforts after the 2008 floods that put 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids under water also significantly increased the number of SBA loans to the metro area. The area had the highest amount of SBA loans per 100,000 residents among our top 10, and 30.5% of the business loans given between 2007 and 2012 came in the third quarter of 2008, just after the June floods.

4. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

The Seattle area had the eighth-highest minority median income at $57,889 and was in the top 10% of SBA loans per 100,000 residents. The area has established support networks for minority entrepreneurs, such as the Washington Minority Business Advisory Council, and is home to Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and other global entities.

Economists and small-business groups will closely watch the effect of Seattle’s historic $15 minimum wage law as it rolls out over the next several years. Other communities and states — such as New York — are considering similar moves.

5. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison was another area spared from the full force of the credit crisis, with unemployment peaking at 6.2% in June 2009. Madison had one of the best overall unemployment rates in communities surveyed (No. 13).

Nearly 30% of the small businesses in Madison in 2012 were created in the past five years, according to the Kauffman Foundation, and the city saw a nearly 85% growth rate in minority-owned businesses during that time, the 11th-best figure among the places we examined. These firms also performed strongly, as Madison ranked fourth nationally in terms of average revenue per minority-owned business.

6. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

FAZE owner Travis says business has been good and is steadily growing for his shop. A Kickstarter campaign that netted $3,500 helped seed the early expansion of the company, “but other than that everything was bootstrapped,” he says. Strong minority median income levels helped boost the San Francisco area, which also has the 11th-highest amount of SBA loans per 100,000 residents.

The Bay Area also has world-class support for small businesses, such as Pacific Community Ventures, a nonprofit social enterprise that paired Travis with the president of another local company as a mentor. “If you can get a mentor or advisor, someone you can bounce ideas off of, you should do it,” Travis says.

7. Santa Rosa, California

Our third San Francisco Bay Area entry in the top 10, Santa Rosa is the seat of Sonoma County, the largest winemaking region in the U.S. Santa Rosa has the eighth-highest amount of SBA loans per 100,000 residents, and its minority median income ($52,172) is in the top 10% nationwide.

The area supports minority businesses through groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

8. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

The Ogden-Clearfield area north of Salt Lake City is the first of two metropolitan regions in Utah on our top 10 list. The area ranked well for its low unemployment and high amount of SBA loans per 100,000 residents. Utah’s Hispanic community is the fastest-growing group in the state, accounting for nearly 78% of its population growth from 2000 to 2010, according to census data. Ogden, where roughly a third of the population is Hispanic, will open a local chapter of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce this month.

“Ten percent of the firms in Ogden are Hispanic,” chamber President Francisco Sotelo told the Standard-Examiner, an Ogden newspaper, in February. “There’s a great opportunity for us to increase that number.”

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City has Utah’s fastest-growing minority population — accounting for 66% of local population growth in 2014 — and is the capital of a state that gets an A+ rating for small-business friendliness by Thumbtack, an online marketplace for small-business services. In our survey, Salt Lake City stacks up well, with the third-highest amount of SBA loans per 100,000 residents and the sixth-best unemployment rate.

Salt Lake City is home to chambers of commerce for Native American, Asian and Hispanic communities and Utah Diversity Connections, which seeks to “assist Utah businesses in building diverse workforces.”

10. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

The state capital of Texas, known for its lively music scene, also is a regional hub for tech companies, garnering the nickname “the Silicon Hills.” And in Round Rock resides the global headquarters of personal computing giant Dell. The area ranked highly for SBA loans per 100,000 people (No. 6) and the average size of those loans (No. 19).

The city provides resources for small and minority businesses and is home to the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council, which aims to “create an environment for minority enterprises to grow.”

Best places for minority-owned businesses: Full rankings

Scroll right and down to see the full table.

RankMetro areaAverage revenue per minority-owned business (2012)Percentage of minority-owned businesses with paid employees (2012)Minority-owned businesses per 1,000 residents (2012)Growth in minority-owned businesses, 2007-2012SBA-guaranteed loan amount per 100,000 residents (2015)Average size SBA-guaranteed loan (FY 2015)Minority median household income (2014)Minority median household income as a percentage of overall median household income (2014)Local unemployment rate (December 2015)Total score
1San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$317,97917.9%45.7428.1%$12,722,174$642,354$83,40689.7%3.8%61.91
2Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO$314,10311.0%11.2864.1%$13,296,759$600,710$41,49685.3%3.2%61.65
3Cedar Rapids, IA$243,51113.3%3.79111.4%$15,263,685$604,602$39,08766.2%3.6%61.61
4Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$736,70421.5%18.8430.2%$14,252,064$486,985$57,88983.9%5.0%60.06
5Madison, WI$343,47616.0%7.8484.8%$11,599,970$297,366$38,53162.9%3.1%59.50
6San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$247,24816.0%44.4828.9%$16,279,372$605,898$67,77684.7%3.9%59.24
7Santa Rosa, CA$223,91118.1%18.9825.7%$18,141,992$524,826$52,17281.8%4.2%57.07
8Ogden-Clearfield, UT$297,79915.2%7.1040.5%$13,698,767$408,650$45,08471.1%3.1%56.49
9Salt Lake City, UT$166,51714.0%11.9453.1%$22,160,775$454,394$44,72972.7%2.8%55.88
10Austin-Round Rock, TX$154,24911.4%30.2147.9%$18,736,807$639,077$47,29876.4%3.1%55.56
11Boulder, CO$195,58216.2%13.7240.9%$19,588,912$369,004$44,86864.6%2.6%55.17
12Provo-Orem, UT$126,89010.6%8.0175.1%$18,255,455$369,656$44,93774.1%2.5%54.58
13Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$225,77912.6%60.3834.8%$18,864,659$575,257$50,45083.6%5.4%54.16
14Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA$231,96823.3%6.3687.4%$10,803,365$360,195$36,16173.2%6.7%52.78
15Kalamazoo-Portage, MI$269,48512.1%11.2777.0%$10,531,808$374,206$30,99466.8%3.5%52.51
16Trenton, NJ$293,93118.2%23.3129.0%$7,365,192$336,004$62,55984.4%3.7%52.32
17Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$126,75810.4%23.1943.5%$25,449,602$1,423,677$53,61164.5%4.8%51.76
18Springfield, MO$277,98721.0%5.1528.9%$10,942,171$276,494$34,17579.7%3.4%51.62
19Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI$172,34211.6%12.4153.6%$16,285,578$420,306$45,43266.8%3.1%51.32
20Green Bay, WI$312,93611.7%3.8044.0%$10,899,732$423,354$38,06871.8%3.8%51.16
21San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA$163,60015.5%18.3328.2%$23,582,412$445,926$48,20581.1%4.5%50.66
22Anchorage, AK$204,39916.7%16.2022.7%$14,677,147$653,835$56,54574.0%5.6%50.52
23Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$165,48011.9%21.3852.4%$15,216,799$396,713$46,08171.8%3.1%50.36
24Urban Honolulu, HI$313,94118.0%57.2912.8%$6,092,786$108,085$71,43497.1%2.7%49.58
25Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$216,38715.8%23.1222.9%$17,953,840$657,167$51,18376.5%8.5%49.43
26Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA$213,64115.1%30.5830.9%$12,563,431$460,543$65,07684.1%5.4%49.12
27San Diego-Carlsbad, CA$206,96613.9%34.3328.3%$13,297,423$451,735$54,87785.8%4.7%48.86
28Boise City, ID$120,80317.7%8.4654.1%$15,182,922$295,174$38,24575.3%3.7%48.28
29Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$208,84820.5%13.2535.6%$10,045,430$340,117$47,55280.8%4.7%48.11
30Tulsa, OK$226,26714.2%18.5238.3%$9,614,309$487,903$39,60480.4%3.9%47.85
31Manchester-Nashua, NH$213,91017.8%7.0233.0%$7,859,157$201,623$57,79681.5%2.8%47.84
32Bremerton-Silverdale, WA$308,83227.4%7.742.1%$7,070,627$484,651$52,92084.7%5.5%47.81
33Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX$150,3159.2%39.8753.6%$13,317,548$508,359$45,74277.3%3.7%47.45
34Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN$260,25711.0%10.4651.7%$11,341,261$366,322$36,87466.8%4.3%47.14
35Fort Collins, CO$128,12013.7%10.2238.1%$13,762,776$400,580$45,82377.9%2.8%47.07
36North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$141,58412.5%17.4149.1%$13,235,144$625,239$37,70275.6%4.4%47.06
37Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$169,19614.0%17.9232.1%$12,416,133$663,886$42,63468.6%4.1%46.97
38Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC$131,7689.2%30.2177.6%$10,817,751$656,177$40,07376.2%4.9%46.95
39Fort Wayne, IN$212,79212.3%11.40115.7%$8,735,442$290,284$32,39765.3%4.4%46.94
40Portland-South Portland, ME$171,24016.5%4.1238.8%$11,750,777$327,497$40,39669.6%2.8%46.87
41Chattanooga, TN-GA$422,04117.7%10.5011.0%$8,963,522$602,121$33,03971.5%5.2%46.69
42Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN$192,77110.1%14.9767.9%$12,113,089$360,997$35,27467.3%4.1%46.28
43Laredo, TX$227,82211.4%102.4067.4%$6,175,758$291,351$38,00298.2%4.5%45.95
44Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA$186,94514.8%25.6525.2%$13,639,633$491,345$49,11482.6%5.5%45.91
45Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ$137,13010.0%20.7764.7%$11,943,133$522,743$42,30479.4%4.7%45.86
46Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI$183,73911.7%15.0468.7%$12,832,133$342,782$34,25563.9%4.5%45.85
47Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$171,9888.9%54.1750.0%$11,964,588$503,937$47,07080.2%4.6%45.53
48Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN$171,78010.9%16.2241.2%$9,734,715$742,118$38,82073.5%4.2%45.40
49Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$191,82112.1%44.7428.5%$7,576,772$545,119$72,81679.4%3.8%45.14
50Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$198,85214.4%15.4338.5%$11,583,061$270,574$50,65868.0%4.1%44.95
51New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$167,94713.1%45.8233.6%$10,360,827$575,877$49,29473.7%4.4%44.67
52Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC$181,43213.4%18.37114.4%$6,657,563$659,410$31,12871.3%7.1%44.40
53Norwich-New London, CT$125,45215.3%9.2048.4%$9,165,362$678,908$48,24372.3%5.4%44.10
54Kansas City, MO-KS$173,77013.3%12.3636.1%$10,801,908$473,075$40,37370.8%3.8%44.03
55Wichita, KS$192,30415.4%11.1249.6%$6,331,366$452,511$37,68473.8%4.0%44.02
56Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA$149,3909.4%10.4376.7%$8,436,349$341,367$38,30866.8%3.0%43.91
57Salisbury, MD-DE$130,82414.3%38.06221.3%$8,765,699$548,744$38,15472.0%6.9%43.82
58Oklahoma City, OK$175,98312.4%20.9557.6%$6,656,551$367,668$38,48275.5%3.3%43.41
59Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA$153,78311.1%8.5681.9%$5,450,257$251,538$44,41572.1%3.2%43.33
60Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL$109,90413.0%23.9790.6%$6,823,480$485,624$33,96179.8%5.0%43.32
61Eugene, OR$140,24120.3%7.8542.0%$9,083,616$424,018$36,88484.4%5.3%43.29
62Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA$108,3678.0%50.2241.4%$15,555,928$598,860$44,39778.4%4.9%43.21
63Reno, NV$176,98916.7%13.9429.3%$11,937,435$417,732$41,29177.8%5.5%43.00
64Raleigh, NC$132,78511.2%24.4940.6%$10,470,208$598,805$47,02674.9%4.4%42.90
65Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA$402,65026.2%2.9840.7%$1,369,203$248,712$30,50977.9%5.1%42.83
66Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI$166,08811.3%30.9838.9%$11,668,066$548,609$46,94176.3%5.7%42.55
67Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$147,7869.3%43.4639.2%$11,769,536$556,522$50,55991.3%5.9%42.48
68Kennewick-Richland, WA$239,70321.9%11.2621.6%$11,215,219$393,361$41,75170.2%7.8%42.29
69Pittsburgh, PA$236,26714.1%6.3629.5%$8,373,384$408,080$35,73268.9%4.3%42.18
70Modesto, CA$227,80313.2%25.9052.4%$7,469,998$488,159$42,92386.6%9.1%42.10
71Killeen-Temple, TX$104,61010.6%18.1366.1%$5,319,117$600,754$44,71788.3%4.4%41.96
72San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX$174,2099.5%44.9541.5%$7,493,420$423,723$43,85183.1%3.5%41.72
73Salinas, CA$162,29715.8%26.6911.8%$12,293,335$705,915$51,19787.4%10.4%41.71
74Dayton, OH$220,72411.8%10.5531.2%$12,219,794$286,293$33,85971.8%4.5%41.56
75Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV$161,4519.5%32.0165.5%$8,998,389$409,757$45,44787.3%6.2%41.51
76Lincoln, NE$194,06712.7%7.1638.0%$8,204,754$249,895$34,48966.0%2.3%41.42
77Lexington-Fayette, KY$253,24716.1%9.2144.6%$4,922,117$226,885$33,40866.8%4.0%41.37
78Jacksonville, FL$134,99310.1%25.0051.7%$9,898,045$471,350$40,97878.7%4.5%41.37
79Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI$161,97410.3%12.3959.9%$9,254,007$195,017$35,99267.7%2.8%41.31
80Ann Arbor, MI$195,6859.2%17.3130.0%$7,284,054$365,716$46,57676.6%2.6%41.26
81Lafayette, LA$103,1986.5%40.82121.3%$8,928,568$673,833$32,33068.5%5.4%41.21
82Reading, PA$221,8788.6%11.3365.2%$6,605,797$401,221$30,52754.7%3.7%41.09
83Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA$194,34519.3%9.1634.4%$3,757,894$274,501$40,94571.3%3.2%41.04
84Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$209,40716.9%24.4023.4%$7,128,755$394,417$50,08379.0%5.5%40.95
85Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$195,05813.9%27.0410.7%$7,690,834$456,710$61,61291.5%5.6%40.35
86Huntsville, AL$283,58111.2%17.8639.9%$5,056,738$290,187$40,84873.1%5.1%40.04
87Richmond, VA$132,80711.8%21.6535.6%$7,755,462$531,705$45,93277.0%4.1%39.93
88Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL$113,07210.7%29.6242.0%$9,621,918$509,932$39,34884.2%4.4%39.82
89Peoria, IL$202,36516.4%7.0348.5%$6,833,245$481,163$38,68970.7%7.0%39.82
90Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ$150,36819.8%18.1132.2%$9,014,910$551,562$42,02377.3%7.3%39.72
91Savannah, GA$113,8899.9%25.9313.3%$14,167,421$752,459$38,40676.0%5.0%39.68
92Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV$151,50115.6%7.0430.2%$3,001,128$591,538$48,00785.9%4.6%39.43
93Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$176,89614.2%12.6046.9%$4,360,274$330,525$43,13073.5%4.0%39.41
94Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$150,5089.9%100.9932.0%$9,951,969$484,609$42,01986.8%5.0%39.26
95Colorado Springs, CO$147,49512.2%13.3335.0%$8,759,801$342,744$44,54477.2%4.0%39.18
96Bakersfield, CA$183,79010.9%31.7137.1%$9,500,997$622,083$41,60785.7%10.2%39.06
97Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$125,1559.1%48.0851.3%$8,082,130$448,817$40,12382.6%4.3%39.01
98Asheville, NC$150,61314.3%7.7245.0%$6,884,309$387,313$32,94973.5%4.2%38.80
99Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA$300,36911.4%8.5577.6%$5,000,680$190,211$25,76560.6%6.9%38.75
100Waco, TX$92,11713.3%16.7246.0%$7,345,097$555,724$31,90076.2%3.8%38.66
101Corpus Christi, TX$124,95310.9%43.4235.0%$8,851,205$545,444$42,91286.9%5.2%38.57
102Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC$118,36410.7%17.9566.8%$6,492,833$511,427$32,10370.7%4.6%38.52
103Columbia, SC$136,6488.2%22.2447.7%$6,666,947$679,421$37,29975.8%4.9%38.16
104Akron, OH$198,8229.5%10.4656.7%$9,072,441$221,461$33,05865.1%4.8%38.04
105Canton-Massillon, OH$234,84012.0%6.0251.5%$6,891,948$161,732$32,58070.5%5.2%37.85
106Salem, OR$162,63119.9%10.3228.7%$5,832,225$367,441$38,72380.0%5.6%37.77
107Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH$275,36125.9%2.7621.1%$2,198,846$267,170$31,46174.1%5.7%37.31
108Visalia-Porterville, CA$238,48012.8%24.9532.7%$6,915,572$458,775$36,30584.7%12.2%37.26
109Columbus, OH$125,6368.6%16.7354.0%$9,846,878$213,864$40,36373.2%3.9%37.26
110Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX$151,80211.0%24.6934.8%$9,096,311$669,391$34,64277.2%6.5%37.24
111Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$161,47519.6%8.2222.9%$6,627,842$239,798$40,48065.5%4.0%37.23
112Fort Smith, AR-OK$115,09210.0%12.0155.3%$4,280,940$666,861$33,22085.5%5.1%37.20
113Fresno, CA$162,34412.5%33.2243.6%$9,395,549$506,529$37,03681.9%10.3%37.11
114Toledo, OH$175,35010.1%9.8151.9%$8,551,672$315,555$30,15467.3%4.8%37.02
115Winston-Salem, NC$101,82810.0%19.8862.5%$5,475,083$572,274$33,03374.1%4.9%36.37
116Knoxville, TN$223,04313.3%8.1927.0%$4,667,756$412,204$32,72072.9%4.9%36.37
117Roanoke, VA$138,64716.6%9.5035.6%$2,241,537$464,647$36,67473.3%3.8%36.29
118St. Louis, MO-IL$135,99812.5%15.0550.8%$5,495,681$359,240$37,66468.5%4.3%36.19
119Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$183,37413.5%13.8738.6%$6,610,139$269,543$43,98163.8%5.0%36.16
120Charleston-North Charleston, SC$130,3519.5%19.5943.9%$7,756,227$515,073$35,16067.0%4.5%36.10
121Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL$139,40611.3%33.8341.8%$6,636,121$403,565$39,56970.3%4.4%36.03
122Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY$203,56315.6%7.8247.9%$6,104,281$205,710$28,85156.9%4.9%36.03
123Stockton-Lodi, CA$161,08612.6%29.8027.0%$8,625,205$530,412$46,37987.1%8.8%35.99
124Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN$176,55311.5%10.5933.6%$6,619,841$398,879$34,90069.3%4.5%35.85
125Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD$151,58111.6%27.9026.3%$6,322,113$348,843$54,94178.1%4.8%35.69
126Worcester, MA-CT$197,73612.3%10.3743.1%$5,207,241$199,803$43,27467.0%4.8%35.51
127Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL$133,1118.4%25.3049.8%$5,244,224$530,718$36,30584.3%5.3%35.23
128South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI$164,7428.6%11.7057.0%$5,863,532$381,629$30,23667.1%4.7%35.16
129New Haven-Milford, CT$175,04213.2%15.6938.5%$5,379,425$320,223$40,63365.9%4.9%35.13
130Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL$118,17811.5%16.3833.5%$7,510,344$396,381$41,25885.1%5.1%34.90
131Providence-Warwick, RI-MA$149,59211.9%11.3754.7%$7,495,102$233,033$34,75561.8%4.9%34.84
132Rochester, NY$176,75413.5%10.2938.5%$7,891,856$203,903$31,91060.5%4.6%34.70
133Albuquerque, NM$182,22113.1%28.9123.1%$5,893,562$392,527$40,15482.2%5.7%34.67
134Lancaster, PA$112,95512.3%6.8640.5%$5,313,995$358,926$35,95562.9%3.0%34.55
135Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL$83,5839.0%28.3740.3%$8,683,291$493,237$35,72674.6%4.3%34.46
136New Orleans-Metairie, LA$92,4436.4%41.0663.2%$6,771,142$497,269$34,31172.4%4.7%34.32
137Clarksville, TN-KY$131,19014.4%10.7345.7%$3,111,383$366,265$40,00685.8%5.7%33.88
138Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC$128,96911.4%22.0238.2%$3,171,951$384,689$46,91679.2%4.5%33.63
139Evansville, IN-KY$154,38517.0%3.676.8%$5,693,699$396,598$33,66171.0%4.1%33.50
140Tucson, AZ$79,6328.7%25.4667.6%$6,155,422$334,056$36,59979.2%5.0%33.45
141Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR$158,66510.9%16.2936.6%$4,201,959$362,912$34,33969.8%4.0%33.45
142Shreveport-Bossier City, LA$81,4836.2%29.1388.1%$4,214,527$521,319$30,31969.3%5.5%33.31
143Cleveland-Elyria, OH$118,4329.4%16.6654.8%$7,939,124$183,602$31,94664.5%3.9%33.19
144Rockford, IL$141,0358.9%16.0268.9%$7,360,005$314,419$36,51373.7%7.2%33.09
145Lubbock, TX$106,9948.3%19.2827.5%$7,412,803$362,836$35,34578.0%3.1%33.06
146Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI$143,2347.2%25.2747.9%$8,688,117$231,934$39,27875.1%5.4%32.87
147York-Hanover, PA$162,47312.2%5.4722.3%$4,506,588$308,456$39,01066.2%3.5%32.82
148Spartanburg, SC$116,3879.3%13.2248.2%$3,965,596$571,509$31,52074.0%5.0%32.79
149Lynchburg, VA$117,85915.6%9.8736.3%$917,515$468,740$35,11474.8%4.3%32.61
150Gainesville, FL$88,43413.6%18.4928.1%$7,268,810$424,604$29,91471.3%4.1%32.50
151Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL$96,60210.0%15.3743.3%$6,093,213$454,376$35,60472.3%4.7%32.46
152Durham-Chapel Hill, NC$118,53510.6%24.1824.1%$6,878,621$410,411$40,04975.7%4.5%32.39
153Greensboro-High Point, NC$119,1729.7%22.7232.0%$6,236,414$546,263$33,88777.6%5.3%32.33
154Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS$93,0056.2%33.20178.8%$5,543,206$488,540$33,67175.1%7.3%32.32
155Memphis, TN-MS-AR$72,9944.1%47.4186.3%$4,212,110$592,805$35,11473.7%6.1%32.30
156Lansing-East Lansing, MI$88,7959.5%11.6234.7%$7,145,243$264,897$35,60971.0%3.2%31.38
157El Paso, TX$137,66910.6%67.8432.2%$4,095,727$287,119$36,39989.4%4.8%31.29
158Merced, CA$131,27510.4%26.9646.7%$5,154,295$421,378$37,83887.9%11.9%30.66
159Montgomery, AL$141,2796.5%30.339.0%$6,755,733$768,158$34,92474.3%5.6%30.63
160Brownsville-Harlingen, TX$148,9628.9%73.3152.7%$3,948,755$292,704$31,05093.0%6.9%29.74
161Tallahassee, FL$83,50710.0%22.9920.8%$3,145,536$733,494$32,97072.7%4.5%29.42
162Baton Rouge, LA$85,9835.7%33.2646.1%$3,545,965$473,651$37,99373.3%4.2%29.29
163Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC$106,97211.9%6.8812.5%$5,644,536$622,500$29,86473.2%5.3%29.20
164Syracuse, NY$106,22011.4%7.5129.7%$7,804,650$302,253$32,31160.7%4.8%29.00
165Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC$71,4677.4%27.0840.8%$5,425,045$578,339$35,30176.5%5.7%28.74
166McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX$122,0967.8%94.0355.6%$4,345,927$302,134$32,85494.0%7.8%27.76
167Ocala, FL$119,15510.0%18.5319.8%$4,611,809$454,088$32,03881.4%5.6%27.48
168Jackson, MS$56,6245.2%38.4057.6%$7,358,756$384,661$33,35373.5%6.0%27.18
169Erie, PA$126,20614.7%4.5224.7%$2,854,190$285,554$24,72254.1%4.5%25.57
170Columbus, GA-AL$41,1384.1%39.7434.2%$6,535,706$650,119$35,19583.2%6.4%25.39
171Wilmington, NC$83,70711.8%9.76-5.3%$8,861,958$487,046$31,83065.5%5.4%25.22
172Port St. Lucie, FL$81,9288.2%26.4021.0%$5,367,535$369,462$35,31177.2%5.1%24.96
173Flint, MI$55,4034.7%20.5059.2%$4,875,076$248,899$29,40970.2%4.6%24.87
174Springfield, MA$152,26913.3%9.2527.0%$2,962,578$109,874$28,08253.4%5.5%22.79
175Birmingham-Hoover, AL$80,8236.8%21.6133.1%$3,529,432$265,417$34,89672.0%5.3%22.03
176Mobile, AL$63,2454.3%32.7768.0%$3,783,961$301,294$30,00468.4%6.8%21.91
177Fayetteville, NC$85,7348.4%27.1940.0%$1,477,826$230,317$38,63086.4%6.8%21.46
178Duluth, MN-WI$134,42016.0%3.01-5.9%$2,734,607$186,683$29,35161.7%5.5%20.20

Methodology

NerdWallet analyzed 178 U.S. metropolitan areas, each with populations of 250,000 or more. Six metro areas without business or loan data were excluded.

Here’s how we calculated the overall score for each location:

Business climate, 55% of the overall score, is based on four metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners:

  • Average revenue per minority-owned business is 15% of the score. A higher average contributed to a higher score.
  • Minority-owned businesses per 1,000 residents is 15% of the score. A higher proportion contributed to a higher score.
  • Growth in minority-owned businesses from 2007 to 2012 is 15% of the score. A higher growth rate contributed to a higher score.
  • Percentage of minority-owned businesses with paid employees is 10% of the score. A higher percentage contributed to a higher score.

Local economic health, 20% of the overall score, is based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey:

  • Unemployment rate is 10% of the score. A lower rate contributed to a higher score.
  • Median household annual income for minorities is 5% of the score. A higher median income contributed to a higher score.
  • Median annual income of local minorities as a percentage of the annual income for the area is 5% of the score. A higher percentage contributed to a higher score.

Financing opportunities, 25% of the overall score, are based on two metrics from the Small Business Administration and the American Community Survey:

  • SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents are 15% of the score. A higher rate contributed to a higher score.
  • The average size of SBA-guaranteed loans is 10% of the score. Larger average loans contributed to a higher score.

Jonathan Todd is a data analyst at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: jonathan.todd@nerdwallet.com. Kevin Voigt is a staff writer at NerdWallet. Email: kevin@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @kevinvoigt.


Infographic by Michael Belen. Image courtesy of Johnny Travis.