15 Cities With the Most Female Business Owners

Female executive or CEO
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This story originally appeared on Self.

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% of all workers nationally, they make up just 38.4% of business owners according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Among owners of incorporated businesses, women are even more scarce, accounting for just one-third of incorporated business owners.

The share of female business ownership has increased over the last decade, going from 35.2% in 2010 to 38.4% 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% of unincorporated business owners are women, they account for only 33% of incorporated business owners.

To determine the metros with most female business owners, researchers at Self Financial analyzed the latest data from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and the 2018 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS). The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage of business owners who are female.

In the event of a tie, the metro with more female business owners was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the total number of female business owners, the total number of female business owners for incorporated and unincorporated firms, and the most active industry for female business owners — defined as the industry with the most female business owners.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the most female business owners.

15. Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.2%
  • Total number of female business owners: 96,013
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 33,264
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 62,749
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

14. Indianapolis

Indianapolis
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.8%
  • Total number of female business owners: 33,262
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 11,162
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 22,100
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

13. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.9%
  • Total number of female business owners: 22,473
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 7,781
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 14,692
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Other Services, Except Public Administration

12. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.9%
  • Total number of female business owners: 38,671
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 12,342
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 26,329
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

11. Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.9%
  • Total number of female business owners: 51,245
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 15,113
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 36,132
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance

10. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. traffic with Capitol Building in background
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 41.9%
  • Total number of female business owners: 120,802
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 37,436
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 83,366
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

9. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 42.9%
  • Total number of female business owners: 24,475
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 9,606
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 14,869
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance

8. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 43.1%
  • Total number of female business owners: 29,004
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 10,237
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 18,767
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

7. San Jose, California

The skyline of San Jose, which has a lower median rent than median mortgage payment
stellamc / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 43.2%
  • Total number of female business owners: 36,364
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 10,611
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 25,753
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance

6. San Francisco

San Francisco neighborhood.
Bertl123 / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 43.4%
  • Total number of female business owners: 117,086
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 30,048
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 87,038
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

5. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson
Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 43.5%
  • Total number of female business owners: 20,802
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 5,107
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 15,695
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

4. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 43.7%
  • Total number of female business owners: 27,727
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 10,752
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 16,975
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Other Services, Except Public Administration

3. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas
Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 44.1%
  • Total number of female business owners: 61,150
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 20,641
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 40,509
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

2. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 44.7%
  • Total number of female business owners: 59,373
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 20,707
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 38,666
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

1. Seattle

Seattle
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  • Percentage of business owners who are female: 46.2%
  • Total number of female business owners: 87,953
  • Total number of female business owners (incorporated firms): 30,603
  • Total number of female business owners (unincorporated firms): 57,350
  • Most active industry for female business owners: Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative, and Waste Management Services

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