Federal Sources of Entrepreneurship Data: A Compendium

Prepared for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

December 16, 2019

The E.M. Kauffman Foundation has asked the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) to prepare a compendium of federal sources of data on self-employment, entrepreneurship, and small business development
The Foundation believes that the availability of useful, reliable federal data on these topics would enable robust descriptions and explanations of entrepreneurship trends in the United States and so help guide the development of effective entrepreneurship policies. Achieving these ends first requires the identification and detailed description of available federal datasets, as provided in this compendium. Its contents include:
  • An overview and discussion of 18 datasets from four federal agencies, organized by two categories and five subcategories.
  • Tables providing information on each dataset, including:
    • scope of coverage of self-employed, entrepreneurs, and businesses;
    • data collection methods (nature of data source, periodicity, sampling frame, sample size);
    • dataset variables (owner characteristics, business characteristics and operations, geographic areas);
    • data release schedule; and
    • data access by format (including fixed tables, interactive tools, API, FTP download, public use microdata samples [PUMS], and confidential microdata).
  • For each dataset, examples of studies, if any, that use the data source to describe and explain trends in entrepreneurship.
The aim of the compendium to facilitate an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of currently available federal datasets, discussion about how data availability and value can be improved, and implementation of desired improvements.