As we’ve  often shared, military veterans can be great employees–and great owners–of small businesses. The following statistics related to U.S military veterans who own businesses were issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy in April 2017. The source of the data is the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners conducted in 2012. That survey had 80 sets of data containing veteran-related information released in December 2015 and February 2016. The complete study and sources can be found in this PDF.

Overview of  veteran-owned businesses

2.52 million |  Businesses in the U.S. that are majority-owned by veterans

442,485 | Veteran-owned businesses with employees
2.08 million | Self-employed veteran businesses (no employees)

9.1% | Percentage of all U.S. businesses that are majority-owned by veterans

$1.14 trillion | Total annual revenues of veteran-owned businesses
5.03 million | Total number of employees of veteran-owned businesses
$195 billion | Annual payroll of veteran-owned businesses

Ranking of industries for veteran-owned businesses

The top seven industries for veteran-owned firms as a percentage of all veteran-owned businesses.

16.6% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
12.2% | Construction
11.8% | Other services
8.6%  | Real estate
8.1% | Retail trade
8.1% | Retail trade
8.0% | Administrative and support

Industries with the highest percentage of veteran-owned businesses

While 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses are veteran-owned, the percentage of veteran-owned businesses varies by industry.

12.8% | Finance and insurance (Percentage of industry businesses owned by veterans)
12.1% | Transportation and warehousing
11.4% | Construction
11.3% | Agriculture, forestry and fishing
10.9% | Utilities
10.8% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
10.2% | Manufacturing

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Veteran-owned firms by gender

84.3% | Male veteran-owned businesses
15.2% | Female veteran-owned businesses

Veteran-owned firms by owners’ race or ethnicity

Multiple categories could be chosen. Self-identified answer.

85.1% | White
10.7% | African American
7% | Hispanic
2.1% | Asian American
1.3% | American Indian or Alaska Native
.3% | Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

States with most veteran-owned businesses

252,377 | California
213,590 |  Texas
185,756 | Florida
137,532 | New York
97,969 | Pennsylvania

States where the highest percentage of all businesses are veteran-owned 

13% | South Carolina
12.2% |  New Hampshire
11.7% | Virginia
11.7% | Alaska
11.4% | Mississippi

Who are the major customers of veteran-owned small businesses?

Major customers are those who account for 10 percent or more of a firm’s sales.

67.6% | Consumers
37.9% | Businesses
5.1% | State and local governments
3.2% | Federal government


Veteran business owners are older than business owners in general.

74% | 55 years old and over (veteran-owned business)
41% | 55 years old and over (“all owners”)

11.7% | Under 45 years old (veteran-owned business)
32.5% | Under 45 years old (“all owners”)

3.4% | Under 35 years old (veteran-owned business)
13.5% | Under 35 years old (“all owners”)


Method of  veteran-owned business startup

85.3%  | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their self-employed business
74.3% | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their business with employees

10.8% | Owners who purchased their businesses
2.7% | Inherited their businesses
2.8% | Acquired their ownership by transfer or as gift

Full Report (PDF) | Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners, Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners

Photo: istock

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