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Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D): Using Administrative and Census Records Data in Business Statistics


  • Adela Luque
  • Renuka Bhaskar
  • James Noon
  • Kevin Rinz
  • Victoria Udalova


The quinquennial Survey of Business Owners or SBO provided the only comprehensive source of information in the United States on employer and nonemployer businesses by the sex, race, ethnicity and veteran status of the business owners. The annual Nonemployer Statistics series (NES) provides establishment counts and receipts for nonemployers but contains no demographic information on the business owners. With the transition of the employer component of the SBO to the Annual Business Survey, the Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics series or NES-D represents the continuation of demographics estimates for nonemployer businesses. NES-D will leverage existing administrative and census records to assign demographic characteristics to the universe of approximately 24 million nonemployer businesses (as of 2015). Demographic characteristics include key demographics measured by the SBO (sex, race, Hispanic origin and veteran status) as well as other demographics (age, place of birth and citizenship status) collected but not imputed by the SBO if missing. A spectrum of administrative and census data sources will provide the nonemployer universe and demographics information. Specifically, the nonemployer universe originates in the Business Register; the Census Numident will provide sex, age, place of birth and citizenship status; race and Hispanic origin information will be obtained from multiple years of the decennial census and the American Community Survey; and the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide administrative records data on veteran status. The use of blended data in this manner will make possible the production of NES-D, an annual series that will become the only source of detailed and comprehensive statistics on the scope, nature and activities of U.S. businesses with no paid employment by the demographic characteristics of the business owner. Using the 2015 vintage of nonemployers, initial results indicate that demographic information is available for the overwhelming majority of the universe of nonemployers. For instance, information on sex, age, place of birth and citizenship status is available for over 95 percent of the 24 million nonemployers while race and Hispanic origin are available for about 90 percent of them. These results exclude owners of C-corporations, which represent only 2 percent of nonemployer firms. Among other things, future work will entail imputation of missing demographics information (including that of C-corporations), testing the longitudinal consistency of the estimates, and expanding the set of characteristics beyond the demographics mentioned above. Without added respondent burden and at lower imputation rates and costs, NES-D will meet the needs of stakeholders as well as the economy as a whole by providing reliable estimates at a higher frequency (annual vs. every 5 years) and with a more timely dissemination schedule than the SBO.

Suggested Citation

  • Adela Luque & Renuka Bhaskar & James Noon & Kevin Rinz & Victoria Udalova, 2019. "Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D): Using Administrative and Census Records Data in Business Statistics," Working Papers 19-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:19-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathan Goldschlag & J. Daniel Kim & Kristin McCue, 2017. "Just Passing Through: Characterizing U.S. Pass-Through Business Owners," Working Papers 17-69, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    5. Carolyn A. Liebler & Sonya R. Porter & Leticia E. Fernandez & James M. Noon & Sharon R. Ennis, 2017. "America’s Churning Races: Race and Ethnicity Response Changes Between Census 2000 and the 2010 Census," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 259-284, February.
    6. Sharon R. Ennis & Sonya R. Porter & James M. Noon & Ellen Zapata, 2015. "When Race and Hispanic Origin Reporting are Discrepant Across Administrative Records and Third Party Sources: Exploring Methods to Assign Responses," CARRA Working Papers 2015-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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