Continued growth

Data released this spring by the U.S. Census Bureau show women-owned businesses continue to grow at a rate greater than the growth for all businesses nationwide.

The 1997 Survey of Women-Owned Business Enterprises defines women-owned businesses as privately held firms in which women own 51 percent or more of the business. The data, which cover women-owned businesses by size, type and geographic area, reveal:

* Women-owned businesses totaled 5.4 million, employed 7.1 million people and generated $818.7 billion in receipts in 1997.

* The number of women-owned firms increased 16 percent between 1992 and 1997, nearly triple the rate of 6 percent for all firms. Their receipts increased 33 percent, compared with a 24 percent increase for all firms.

* As of 1997, privately-held majority women-owned firms comprised 26 percent of the country’s 20.8 million nonfarm businesses and 4.4 percent of the $18.6 trillion in receipts for all businesses.

* Eight-five percent of these women-owned firms were sole proprietorships.

* Seventy percent of women-owned firms operated in the services and retail trade industries. Forty-one percent of the receipts generated by women-owned firms were concentrated in these industries.

* California has the largest number of women-owned firms (700,500), while the District of Columbia, with 14,000 women-owned firms, has the largest percentage of women-owned businesses with 30.9 percent of its 45,300 firms.

* The 205,000 women-owned businesses in Ohio account for 26.2 percent of all firms in the state and 3.8 percent of all women-owned firms in the country. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Economic Census report,