7 Best States for Owning a Small Business

Written By
G. Dautovic
January 04,2022

Huge retailers extend their presence all across the nation, but small businesses are the cornerstone of the US economy. In fact, nine out of 10 companies employ fewer than 20 employees. Twenty-five million one-person companies operate in cities all over America.

Office Depot researchers looked at Small Business Administration data and identified the states in which small businesses are making their owners the most money. Rhode Island came out on top for 2019, but the race is close.

7. Maryland

Baltimore - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $56,474

Maryland has 594,124 small businesses, representing 99.5% of all companies in the state. These companies employ 1.1 million people, or 50.1% of the entire state workforce, with 37,604 net new jobs created in 2019.

6. Alaska

Alaska - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $60,106

Alaska is home to 73,354 small companies - 99.1% of all state businesses. These firms employ 53% of the private workforce in Alaska, or some 141,147 employees statewide.

5. California

California - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $60,641

California has 4 million small businesses that employ 7.1 million people, or 44.8% of the state workforce. Small companies in California represent 99.8% of all businesses, and they created 249,508 net new jobs in 2019.

4. New Jersey

New Jersey - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $61,313

There are 884,049 small businesses operating in New Jersey. These companies employ 1.8 million people, or 49.8% of the state workforce. Small businesses make up for 99.6% of all companies in the state, and they created 61,305 new net jobs in 2019.

3. Connecticut

Connecticut - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $63,883

Connecticut is home to 346,950 small businesses, which represent 99.8% of all companies operating in the state. They employ 48.9% of the state workforce. There are 750,457 small business employees in Connecticut, including the 26,960 new net jobs that were created in 2019.

2. Massachusetts

Massachusetts - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $65,084

Massachusetts has 669,224 active small businesses, which represents 99.5% of all companies across the state. They employ 1.5 million workers, or 45.8% of the state workforce. Massachusetts small businesses added 53,980 net new jobs during the past year.

1. Rhode Island

Rhode Island - Featured Illustration

Median income for self-employed: $65,580

Judging by median income, Rhode Island is the best state for small business owners - by a whisker. There are 101,156 small businesses in Rhode Island - that’s 98.9% of all companies operating within the tiny state’s borders. They employ 229,974 workers. 2019 saw Rhode Island add 5,248 net new jobs in the small business sector, mostly in companies with fewer than 20 employees.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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