The number of businesses owned by blacks jumped 47 percent -- from 231,203 to 339,239 -- between 1977 and 1982, the Census Bureau reported yesterday. During that same period, gross annual receipts of black-owned businesses rose from $8.6 billion to $12.4 billion, the Census Bureau said.
Despite the increases, the bureau's figures showed that black-owned business enterprises constitute only a tiny proportion of all the businesses in the nation, and employ only a sliver of the black labor force.
The survey showed that the vast majority of blacks worked in firms owned by non-blacks and that nine-tenths of all black-owned firms were basically "mom-and-pop" family operations or single-worker firms (a one-man cab company, for example) without any paid employes.
The 339,239 black businesses included sole proprietorships (95 percent), partnerships (3 percent) and corporations with fewer than 25 shareholders (2 percent). The survey did not include larger corporations with more shareholders, for which it is impossible to determine ownership by race.
Overall, New York and Los Angeles had the most black-owned businesses, and Washington, D.C., and Baltimore were high on the list.
The survey found that only 38,631 black-owned firms out of the 339,239 had any paid employes other than the proprietor himself, and that the total number of such employes was only 165,765 -- a minuscule portion of the 1982 total black labor force of 11.3 million.
Overall, black firms constituted 2.7 percent of all sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations with fewer than 25 shareholders (compared with 2.3 percent in 1977), and their receipts made up 1 percent of total receipts for this group.
Of all the firms identified as black-owned, only 1,129 had receipts of $1 million or more. Nearly half had receipts of less than $5,000.
Surveyed by type of business, the largest volume of receipts came from auto dealerships and service stations ($1.3 billion), miscellaneous retail sales ($993 million), food stores ($883 million), restaurants and bars ($675 million) and health services ($595 million).
Among the 10 largest metropolitan areas, Los Angeles-Long Beach had the most black-owned firms (23,520), followed by the New York City metropolitan area (20,242), Washington, D.C. metropolitan area (18,805 -- of which 8,966 were in the District itself), Chicago (13,660) and Houston (12,206). The San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta metropolitan areas followed, with numbers ranging from 9,388 to 7,077.
Looking at cities only, without their surrounding areas, New York topped the list with 17,350 black-owned firms, the District was fifth with 8,966 and Baltimore was ninth with 4,077.