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2 Minutes Read

US Businesses Of All Sizes

The Number Of Businesses In The U.S.

There is no definitive count of the total number of businesses in the United States, but here are some estimates from government sources: 


  • According to the US Census Bureau's Statistics of US Businesses program, there were approximately 7.7 million firms with paid employees in 2019. This includes businesses with just a single employee. 
  • The US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy estimates there were 32.5 million small businesses in the US as of 2020. They define a small business as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. 
  • Overall, estimates range from 30-35 million when including small businesses without paid employees, such as self-employed individuals and contractors. The total number fluctuates year to year. 
  • The majority of businesses in the US are considered small businesses. The SBA Office of Advocacy states that small businesses make up 99.9% of all firms with paid employees. 

Basically, there are tens of millions of businesses operating in the United States currently, with small businesses comprising the vast majority of all firms. The exact number is difficult to measure definitively due to variations in definitions and frequent changes, but most estimates fall between 30-35 million total businesses nationwide.


Businesses in the US are typically segmented by size using the following categories:


Large Businesses:

  • More than 500 employees

Medium-Sized Businesses:

  • 100-499 employees

Small Businesses:

  • Fewer than 100 employees

Within Small Businesses there are further sub-segments:

  • Microbusinesses: 0-9 employees
  • Mom and Pop businesses: 10-19 employees
  • Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): 1-9 employees
  • Small businesses: 10-99 employees

Some key details on the small business sub-segments:

  • Microbusinesses make up the majority of small businesses at over 90%
  • Mom and pop businesses are independently owned and operated companies, often family-run
  • SOHOs operate out of personal residences or small shared office spaces
  • Small businesses employ nearly 50% of the US private workforce

The size thresholds (number of employees) may vary slightly across different government agencies and reporting, but this covers the major business size categories and sub-segments commonly used. The smaller the business, the greater the number, with microbusinesses and non-employer firms representing the largest share of US businesses.

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