Special Report

States Where the Most People Applied to Start a Business in 2021

Despite the attention given to large publicly traded companies and the payouts they provide to investors, small businesses continue to be one of the largest private employer segments in the nation, accounting for 66% of new jobs created at any given time and 44% of U.S. gross domestic product, according to a 2019 estimate from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In 2021, the U.S. had 32.5 million small businesses that employed almost half of the private workforce, led by jobs in health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and construction. (Check out the large cities where starting a business is worth the risk.)

The full impact of COVID-19 has yet to be assessed, though at least a third of U.S. small businesses closed temporarily or permanently due to the pandemic. Still, despite the recent years’ challenges, budding U.S. entrepreneurs have been eager, even during the pandemic, to open businesses and open shops that replaced those that went under. (Looking at the end, here are 14 big businesses run by the U.S. government.)

To identify the states where the most people applied to start a business, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Business Formation Statistics from the U.S Census Bureau. States are ranked by the number of applications for new businesses from January 2021 to January 2022 for every 100,000 people. Population data is from the Census’ 2019 American Community Survey. 

The nation’s most populous and most economically contributory states tend to have the highest number of new business applications, with Florida, California, and Texas holding the top three spots, respectively. Georgia had the fourth most applications, even though the state is the eighth-largest by population, and New York the fifth most applications.

Adjusted per capita, the picture changes, and the state with the most entrepreneurial spirit is Wyoming, at 6,395 new business applications last year per 100,000 state residents. Delaware and Georgia follow with 4,973 applications per 100,000 and 3,291 per 100,000, respectively. Meanwhile Florida ranks fourth, Texas 14th, and  California ranks in the bottom half, at No. 30.

Click here to see the states where the most people applied to start a business in 2021

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