Top States and Cities for Self-Employed Women, Minorities and Seniors

In this Guide...

Our analysis of 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data highlights the states and cities where the highest rates of women, minorities and seniors are driving their own careers.

Woman in wheelchair leading group discussion
Key Findings


  • Of all self-employed individuals in the U.S., approximately 42% are women, 20% are Hispanic and 16% are over the age of 65.

  • In 10 states and the District of Columbia, more than half of all self-employed workers are women, reaching as high as 71% in Delaware.

  • The share of self-employed workers in New York, Nevada and Connecticut who are Hispanic is significantly higher than the Hispanic populations of their respective states.

  • While Black Americans remain underrepresented among the ranks of the self-employed on the national level, more than one in four self-employed residents of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Maryland respectively are Black.

  • The rates of self-employed Asian Americans in San Francisco and Dallas are roughly four times the national rate.
Study Overview

Women, minorities and older adults represent three demographics that are historically underemployed in the American workforce, and – in the case of women – often underpaid. Our analysis of recently released 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data identifies the states where the highest rates of women, minority and senior workers are carving their own path by working for themselves.

In this report, we detail the states and major metro areas with the highest rates of self-employment for women and workers over age 65, as well as for workers who are Black, Asian or Hispanic Americans.

Nearly 1 in 6 Self Employed Workers Are at Least 65 Years Old

Almost 16% of self-employed individuals across the U.S. are at least 65 years old. At an age traditionally reserved for retirement, more than 2.7 million seniors continue to work for themselves. 

In Hawaii, nearly 44% of self-employed people are 65 or older, by far the highest percentage in the U.S. Rhode Island is a distant second at just under 30%. 

Click on image to enlarge in a new tab

Table showing Top States for Self Employed Seniors where the national average is 15.8 percent and Hawaii is top state at 43.9 percent

29 states have an above-average share of self-employed workers aged 65 and older. New York City ranks highest among large cities, with 34.8% of the self-employed population being 65 and over. 

Fewer than 7% of self-employed residents of Connecticut, North Carolina and the District of Columbia are at least 65 years old. 

Women Account for More Than 4 in 10 Self Employed Workers

More than 4 out of 10 (almost 42%) self-employed workers in the U.S. are women. The share of female self-employed workers stretches as high as 71% in Delaware. 

In 10 states and the District of Columbia, the majority of self-employed workers are women. In all but five states, women account for at least one out of three self-employed individuals. 

Click on image to enlarge in a new tab

Table showing the Top states for self employed women where the national rate is 41.9 percent and Delaware is the top state with 71.3 percent

Among large cities, Atlanta boasts the highest share of women among the self employed, at 58.2%, followed by Chicago (55.1%) and Houston (54.8%). 

Interestingly, just 4.8% of self-employed workers in New York City are women, versus 41.5% of self-employed workers across the state of New York. 

Just one out of four self-employed residents of South Dakota are female, the lowest rate in the U.S. 

Nearly 1 in 5 Self Employed Americans Are Hispanic

Almost 20% of self-employed people in the U.S. are Hispanic. That number is in line with the Hispanic population as a whole, but certain states have a share of self-employed workers well above their respective Hispanic populations.1

  • In Nevada, 29.9% of residents are Hispanic. But the demographic accounts for almost 42% of all self-employed workers in the state. 

  • Only 17.7% of people in Connecticut are Hispanic, but 33.8% of people in Connecticut who are self employed are Hispanic.

  • 37.5% of self-employed workers in New York are Hispanic, despite just 19.5% of the state being Hispanic. 

The inverse is true in New Mexico. While the 40% share of Hispanic self-employed workers in the state ranks third in the country, it’s less than the 50% share of New Mexico residents overall who are Hispanic. 

Click on image to enlarge in a new tab

Table showing Top states for self employed Hispanic Americans where the national average is 19.4 percent and Nevada is top state with 41.9 percent

In three large cities, more than half of self-employed individuals are Hispanic: Riverside, CA (56.7%), Los Angeles (54.7%) and Miami (50.2%). 

Meanwhile, three other cities have rates far lower than their statewide Hispanic populations. 

  • 37.3% of self-employed workers in Texas are Hispanic, but only 24.2% in Dallas are Hispanic. In Houston, the rate is 49.3%.

  • 41.7% of self-employed workers in California are Hispanic, but just 27.6% of self-employed workers in San Francisco are Hispanic.

  • 21.6% of the self-employed in Phoenix are Hispanic, compared to a 28.8% share across the state.

Missouri, New Hampshire and Alabama each have less than 1% shares of their self-employed workers who are Hispanic. 

More Than 1 in 4 Self Employed Workers in Some States Are Black

As a whole, Black Americans are nationally underrepresented among the self employed, making up more than 14% of the population but less than 9% of self-employed workers in the U.S. 

However, more than one in three self-employed workers in Virginia are Black, while Georgia and South Carolina share nearly the same rate. One in four self-employed individuals in Maryland are Black. 

Click on image to enlarge in a new tab

table showing the Top States for Self Employed Black Americans where Virginia is top state and national average is 8.7 percent

Among large cities, Atlanta has by far the highest share of self-employed workers who are Black, at 42%. Philadelphia was next on the list at just 23.1%. 

Black workers make up less than 1% of the self-employed populations in Arizona, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Idaho and West Virginia.

Highest Rates of Asian American Self Employment Found in West and Midwest

The national rate of self-employed workers who are Asian American is 4.1%. Only eight states have higher rates, with Hawaii (16.8%), the District of Columbia (10.7%), California (10.4%) and Illinois (10.1%) topping the list.

Click on image to enlarge in a new tab

Graphic table showing Top States for Self Employed Asian Americans where the national average is 4.1 percent and Hawaii is the top state with 16.8 percent

San Francisco has the highest rate of self-employed Asian American workers, at 16.5% of their total self-employed population. Dallas (15.9%) and Chicago (13.4%) are the other top two cities.


The share of self-employed workers who are female, Hispanic, Black or over the age of 65 varies greatly among states. Many states have shares of self-employed workers that are disproportionately high or low compared to the state population of the given demographic. 


The data used for this report came from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, specifically Week 46 (June 1–13, 2022), the most recent data available.

More Useful Guides
Two small business owners reviewing finances
Nearly 1 out of 3 small businesses in America reported difficulties hiring new employees in April ...
Shipping containers stacked at a port
24% of small businesses in the U.S. expect to need a new supply chain option within the next six months, ...
Couple embraces during Pride parade
Our analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows nearly 2 out of every 3 people who identify as LGBTQ ...