The Kauffman Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship is a comprehensive indicator of small business activity in the United States, integrating high-quality sources of timely information into one composite indicator. The Index captures business activity in all industries and is based on both a nationally representative sample size of roughly 900,000 responses each year and on the universe of all employer businesses in the United States on a dataset covering approximately five million businesses. The focus here is on business owners based on location, survival rates of firms, and established small businesses — employer firms older than five years and with fewer than fifty employees. As such, we examine both the business owners and the businesses they own.
Main Street entrepreneurship is an important aspect of the U.S. economy and society. Established small businesses make up almost 68 percent of all employer firms in the United States and are a source of local economic activity.
This report presents trends in Main Street entrepreneurship over the past two decades for the United States. Two separate reports look at these same trends in all fifty states and the forty largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Some Main Street Entrepreneurship Index components, when available, also are reported by demographic groups.