Study Looks at Characteristics of Self-Employed

Serving in the military, having a college degree and owning a home all are factors that increase the likelihood of self-employment, according to a new government study.

Here are some highlights of "Educational Attainment and Other Characteristics of the Self-Employed" from the Small Business Administration:

*An individual with military experience is about 11 percent more likely to become self-employed.

*A head of household with some college, but less than a bachelor's degree, is 3.3 percent more likely to be self-employed. That figure rises to 4.4 percent for those with a baccalaureate degree and to 8.3 percent for those with graduate experience.

*For male heads of household, the self-employed are more likely to be older, married, white, military veterans, Internet savvy and rural. For wives, the self-employed are more likely to be older than 30 years, white and military veterans. (The study notes that a woman could be the head of a household, but for this study, the head of household was male 76 percent of the time.)

*Homeowners are 7 percent more likely to be self-employed, while every $100,000 increase in mortgage value increases the probability of self- employment by 2 percent.

Small Business Readers: Do these statistics reflect the small business owners you know? Reply in the comments section below or e-mail me at

By Sharon McLoone |  December 18, 2007; 10:00 AM ET Data Points
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I became self employed 2 years after graduating from architecture school when I was 24 due to a crash in the local market. 16 years later I am still at it having refocused by business several times.

Posted by: Todd Sanders | December 19, 2007 12:06 AM

My husband and I both have bachelors' degrees, did not serve in the military, and are still renting. We've been self-employed seven years this spring. Sure is easier to buy a house before self-employment than after...

Posted by: rallycap | December 24, 2007 7:24 PM

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