The Power of Supporting Black-Owned Businesses: A Path to Equality

Survey Reveals Strong Belief in the Effectiveness of Supporting Black Businesses for Advancing Equality

In the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the United States, supporting Black-owned businesses has emerged as a powerful strategy. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, six-in-ten Black adults believe that supporting Black businesses is an extremely or very effective means of advancing equality. This sentiment reflects the recognition of the disproportionate representation of Black-owned businesses in the country, a disparity that perpetuates racial inequality. However, recent data from the Census Bureau suggests a positive shift, with the number of Black-owned businesses increasing by 14% in 2021. This article explores the significance of supporting Black-owned businesses, the sectors in which they thrive, and the growing influence of Black women entrepreneurs.

Disproportionate Representation: A Barrier to Equality

As previously reported by USA TODAY, the number of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. does not align with the percentage of Black Americans in the population. While Black Americans make up approximately 12.4% of the country’s population, Black business owners represent only 2.4% of all employer-firm owners. In contrast, white Americans, who constitute the majority of the population (59%), account for 86% of employee-firm owners. This stark disparity highlights the need for concerted efforts to address the underrepresentation of Black-owned businesses, which perpetuates racial inequality.

The Rise of Black-Owned Businesses

Despite the challenges they face, Black-owned businesses are making strides. The Census Bureau reports a 14% increase in the number of Black-owned businesses in 2021. Currently, there are 161,031 Black or African American-owned businesses in operation, generating $183.3 billion in annual receipts. These businesses employ approximately 1.4 million people and contribute $53.6 billion in annual payroll. The Health Care and Social Assistance sector emerges as the largest sector for Black-owned businesses, with over 45,000 enterprises operating in this field. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector follows closely behind, while the mining, quarrying, oil, and gas extraction sector has the fewest Black-owned businesses.

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The Growing Influence of Black Women Entrepreneurs

Black women entrepreneurs are playing a vital role in the growth of Black-owned businesses. In 2020, 37% of majority Black-owned businesses were owned by women, a significant increase from previous years. The number of Black woman-owned firms reached 62,953 in 2021, accounting for 42% of all Black-owned businesses. This upward trend highlights the resilience and determination of Black women in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Their success not only empowers them individually but also strengthens the economic prospects of Black communities.

The Economic Impact of Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

Research from the Brookings Institution emphasizes the economic significance of supporting Black-owned businesses. These enterprises are more likely to hire Black workers, addressing the higher unemployment rates faced by Black adults. By investing in Black-owned businesses, employment opportunities are created, fostering economic development within Black communities. Furthermore, the underrepresentation of Black businesses not only perpetuates racial disparities but also hinders the overall economy. The Brookings Institution report estimates that the lack of Black businesses costs the U.S. economy millions of jobs and billions of dollars in unrealized revenues.


Supporting Black-owned businesses is a powerful strategy for advancing equality in the United States. The belief in this approach is evident among Black adults, with six-in-ten acknowledging its effectiveness. While the underrepresentation of Black-owned businesses remains a barrier to equality, recent data indicates progress. The growth of Black-owned businesses, particularly those led by Black women, demonstrates the resilience and determination of these entrepreneurs. By investing in and supporting Black-owned businesses, individuals can contribute to the economic empowerment of Black communities and the dismantling of systemic racial inequality. It is imperative that society recognizes the importance of these enterprises and takes concrete steps to address the disparities they face, ensuring a more equitable future for all.

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