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In El Centro, 42.6% of Business Owners Are Women


Female workers face a number of challenges, including inequities in pay and underrepresentation in certain industries and occupations. And while the share of female business owners is on the rise, women still own far fewer businesses than men. While women account for 48 percent of all workers nationally, they make up just 38.4 percent of business owners according to data from the Census Bureau. Among owners of incorporated businesses, women are even more scarce, accounting for just one-third of incorporated business owners.

The analysis found that there are 2,403 female business owners in the El Centro area, which amounts to 42.6% of all business owners there.

The share of female business ownership has increased by several percentage points over the last decade, going from 35.2 percent in 2010 to 38.4 percent in 2019. Women start businesses for many of the same reasons as men—namely, to be their own boss, to follow a passion, or to pursue a new opportunity. But women are much more likely than men to cite increased flexibility and the ability to control their schedules as important motivators in starting their own businesses.

Although female business ownership is becoming more common, women are less likely than men to incorporate their businesses. While 41 percent of unincorporated business owners are women, they account for only 33 percent of incorporated business owners. In addition to advantages such as personal asset protection and tax benefits, business incorporation provides easier access to capital. As such, the difference in incorporation rates across men- and women-owned businesses contributes to the gap in earnings and funding between male and female businesses.

In every sector of employment, men tend to earn more than women. Whether employed at private companies, working in government, or self-employed, men earn an average of 25 percent more than women. Furthermore, self-employed women in unincorporated businesses actually earn even less than women employed in any other sector. Even women who own incorporated businesses still earn less than women in almost every other sector.

The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage of business owners who are female. Researchers also calculated the total number of female business owners, the total number of female business owners for both incorporated and unincorporated firms, and the most active industry for female business owners.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size where small metros have between 100,000 and 349,999 residents, midsize metros have between 350,000 and 999,999 residents, and large metros have at least 1,000,000 residents.

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