Veterans tend to be better educated before starting or acquiring their businesses and older than other business owners, according to new reports released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002 show veteran business owners comprised about 3 million or 14.5 percent of the estimated 20.5 million owners of all firms that responded to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners (SBO).
The first-ever reports examining veterans in business show that prior to establishing, purchasing or acquiring their firms, veteran owners were somewhat better educated compared to other business owners. In 2002, veterans were about as likely to have either bachelor or postgraduate degrees as all owners of respondent business firms (40.7 percent vs. 40.1 percent). But they were more likely to have postgraduate degrees (19.2 percent vs. 17.3 percent) and less likely not to have graduated high school (4.3 percent vs. 6 percent).
Sixty-eight percent of veteran owners were age 55 or over, and 32 percent were 65 or older. By contrast, among all business owners of firms completing the survey, 31 percent were 55 or older.
Otherwise, businesses owned by veterans tended to be virtually identical to all respondent businesses in receipts and employment size of firm. (Figure 1 shows the distribution by receipts size category; Figure 2 by employment size category.) Moreover, the largest percent of shares of veteran-owned and all respondent businesses (totaling about 60 percent of the businesses in each group) were concentrated in the same five business sectors: professional, scientific, and technical services; construction; other services; retail trade; and real estate and rental and leasing. (See Figure 3 on the distribution of firms by kind of business.)
The report can be accessed here.