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Facts on Veterans and Entrepreneurship

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the impact that veterans have on the American economy.  According to the most recent data, there is about one veteran-owned firm for every ten veterans, and veteran-owned firms employ 5.8 million individuals.  A recent SBA study also found that military service exhibits one of the largest marginal effects on self-employment, and veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans. 

Table 1. Veteran Population Statistics


Male Veterans

Female Veterans

Veteran-owned firms

Employees of Veteran-owned firms

21.2 million

19.4 million

1.8 million

2.4 million

5.8 million

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment status of the civilian population 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, and sex, not seasonally adjusted, May 2012; U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 2007.

Figure 1. Percentage of firms owned by veterans: Top 10 Industries


Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 2007.


Figure 2. Distribution of Veteran-owned firms by industry

 1%; Management of firms/enterprises: 0%; Utilities: 0%; Professional, scientific, and technical services: 17%; Construction: 16%; Other services: 10%; Real Estate: 9%; Retail Trade: 8%; Admin. and support and waste mgmt: 7%; Transportation and Warehousing: 7%; Healthcare and social assistance: 6%; Finance and insurance: 6%; Arts, entertainment and recreation: 4%; Wholesale trade: 3%; Manufacturing: 3%; Accommodation and food services: 2%; Educational services: 1%; Information: 1%

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 2007.