The Number of Hispanic Construction Business Owners Rises in Every Age Group

The number of business owners in the construction industry (firms involved in the construction of buildings, heavy/civil engineering construction, or specialty trade contractors) declined 8% from 2.3 million in 2007 to 2.1 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners (collected in years ending in ‘2’ and ‘7’). An earlier post reported that the number of business owners of residential construction firms (a sub-sector of the larger group above) declined 12% during this period (down to 689,000 firms).  This post analyzes how the change in the number of business owners in the entire construction industry varied by the age and race/ethnicity of the business owner.

The contraction in the construction industry was more pronounced among younger business owners. In 2012, there were 23% fewer construction business owners under the age of 25 than in 2007, 19% fewer aged 25 to 34, 22% fewer aged 35 to 44, and 13% fewer aged 45 to 54.  In contrast, there were 14% more construction business owners aged 55 to 64 in 2012 than in 2007 and 21% more aged 65 or older (Figure 1).

Looking at similar data by racial/ethnic groups shows that the number of White construction business owners declined in most age brackets during this period. In 2012, there were 28% fewer White construction business owners under the age of 25 than in 2007, 24% fewer aged 25 to 34, 25% fewer aged 35 to 44, and 17% fewer aged 45 to 54. Only two age brackets of White owners saw increases during this period:   12% more aged 55 to 64 and 20% more aged 65+.  Overall, the number of White construction business owners fell 11%, from 2.2 million in 2007 to 2.0 million in 2012 (Figure 2).

On the contrary, the number of Hispanic construction business owners jumped 20 percent between 2007 (155,000) and 2012 (185,000).   In fact, the number rose in every age bracket.  In 2012, there were 46% more Hispanic construction business owners under the age of 25 than in 2007, 5% more aged 25 to 34, 8% more aged 35 to 44, 27% more aged 45 to 54, 54% more aged 55 to 64, and 17% more aged 65+.

When all minority construction business owners are tabulated together, results show their numbers rising 20% from 2007 to 2012, with every age bracket posting increases quite similar to the increases among Hispanic-only construction business owners.



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