What happened to the Kauffman Index?

In order to provide information that was actionable and directly relevant to users, the Kauffman Foundation retired the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship and replaced it with the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship. The Kauffman Foundation received input from policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders about how to accomplish clearer indicators, as well as provide timely and current information in the context of existing data constraints and a focus on the nature of entrepreneurship.

As a result of this strategic shift, this first set of data released, the Kauffman Indicators of Early-Stage Entrepreneurship, is intended to provide a broad and balanced perspective on measuring the complex phenomenon of early-stage entrepreneurial activity.

All subsequent FAQs specifically refer to the Kauffman Indicators of Early-Stage Entrepreneurship.

How do the indicators compare to the previous Kauffman Index components?

Explanations of how the indicators compare to the previous Kauffman Index reports can be found in the National Report Appendix [PDF] and the State Report Appendix [PDF].

How can I interpret the Kauffman Indicators for 2017?

The rate of new entrepreneurs in 2017 was 0.33 percent, which reflects that 330 out of every 100,000 adults became new entrepreneurs in an average month. The rate of new entrepreneurs captures the percentage of the adult, non-business owner population that starts a business each month. This indicator captures all business owners, including those who own incorporated or unincorporated businesses, and those who are employers or non-employers.

The opportunity share of new entrepreneurs was 84.4 percent in 2017, reflecting that more than 4 out of 5 entrepreneurs started a business out of opportunity as opposed to necessity. Opportunity entrepreneurs are defined as those starting a business out of wage and salary work, school, or other labor market status. Necessity entrepreneurs are defined as those starting a business out of unemployment.

The startup early job creation indicator was 5.27 per 1,000 people in 2017 (meaning that startups created, on average, 5.27 new jobs for every 1,000 people in the United States in 2017). This indicator measures how many jobs are created by startups in their first year, normalized by the total population. This allows us to track the total number of jobs created by startups while accounting for differences in population over time or by geography.

The startup early survival rate in 2017 was 79.78 percent. This reflects that roughly 4 out of 5 new startup establishments were still active after one year of operation.

More detailed information about historical trends and interpretations of the indicators can be found in the National and State reports, as well as the Methodology.

Is city data available?


Why is Kauffman no longer releasing metro- or city-level data?

As part of the development of the Kauffman Indicators, we assessed available data sources used in our and other work. The level of disclosure in administrative data sources, expectations about future availability and release cycles, and timeliness were factors in the determination not to include metro or city data in the early-stage indicators at this time. We are currently evaluating data needs and opportunities to track entrepreneurship at the city level.

How often will Kauffman update the indicators?

Our goal is to update the Kauffman Indicators of Early-Stage Entrepreneurship on an annual basis. The most recent release presents data for 2017; we plan to release a new update with data for 2018 later this year (pending data availability).

Why is Kauffman no longer ranking states or cities?

A major goal of the Kauffman Indicators is presenting a variety of measures of early-stage entrepreneurship and enabling comparisons across geographies and demographic groups using those measures. While we include a summary measure which equally weights all four indicators (the KESE Index), individual stakeholders such as state policymakers and entrepreneurship support organizations may have different definitions about which indicators are important. Furthermore, small year-to-year variations in the indicators could result in larger shifts in the overall rankings, even if the underlying conditions are largely the same. As such, we felt that users could choose how to use and interpret each of the indicators or the index as appropriate for their needs.

What data sources are used to produce the Kauffman Indicators?

The U.S. Census’s Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Business Employment Dynamics (BED). The full methodology used to produce the indicators is available here.

Do you have demographic data for individual states or for groups other than those presented on the website?

Due to constraints with the sample sizes of the source variables, we are unable to produce accurate measures for demographics at the state level. Nationally, we present all available demographic groups for which we can produce accurate estimates on the website.

Why do you not have demographic data for the Startup Job Creation and Startup Survival Rate Indicators?

Those variables are produced using the BLS BED statistics. The data source includes data on jobs created and establishment survival rate, but does not include date on the demographics of who owns businesses. As such, we are unable to report demographic breakdowns for those indicators.

For how many years is data available? Is there additional data available for other years?

The website provides all of the data we have available. Generally, we have data back to 1998 for the two CPS-derived indicators (Rate of New Entrepreneurs and Opportunity Share), and 1996 for the two BED-derived indicators (Startup Job Creation and Survival Rate).

Where can I download the data?

You can download the data here [ZIP].

Can I download or print the data visualizations?

All data visualizations per indicator at the national and state levels are available to print in a consolidated report through your browser’s native printing functionality. For example, Chrome users can click on the three dots in the upper right portion of the browser and click “print.” You can also open a print dialogue box regardless of browser via CTRL + P for PC and COMMAND + P for Mac.

The data visualizations are also individually available for download by clicking the “Download Chart” link provided.

How can I print my state page?

The instructions to print and download the data visualizations from the previous question apply to the state pages, as well.

How can I provide feedback?

We’d love to hear it. Send feedback through the form below.

Is there someone at Kauffman who I can talk to about the data or reports?

Fill out the form below and we’ll connect you with the most appropriate person to answer your query.