Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Hispanic business ownership soared between 1987 and 2002 when the last economic census was undertaken measuring business ownership in the United States. The number of Hispanic-owned business more than tripled over this period from 489,973 to 1,573,600 firms, while gross revenues more than quadrupled from $61.3 billion to $242 billion. Additionally, the gross receipts per Hispanic-owned business increased from about $125,000 in 1987 to about $154,000 in 2002. There was some stagnation in receipts per business between 1987 and 1992; a sharp rise between 1992 and 1997; and then a decline between 1997 and 2002. (See Table 10.1.) Yet, while these Latino-owned businesses increased from 3.6% of all business enterprises in the United States in 1987 to 6.8% in 2002, their collective share of total gross business receipts fell from 1.6% in 1987 to 1.0% in 2002.
This was related to the small-scale nature of most Hispanic-owned firms, which is revealed by several indicators. First and foremost, more than 87% of all Hispanic business enterprises had no paid employees in 2002, while the corresponding portion for all businesses was about 75%. Thus, most Hispanic-owned businesses were relatively small-scale, family-owned and -operated firms. Second, among all firms in the United States with paid employees the average number of workers was about 20 per enterprise, while among Hispanic-owned enterprises there were 7.7 workers per firm, which is again indicative of the small-scale nature of these businesses.