America is the land of dreamers, where people believe that if they have an idea, and they work really hard to develop it, even the poorest person can achieve the richest goals.
Some of us believe that more than others.
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity rates which states have the greatest number of new businesses forming, looking at government figures registering their first month of "significant business activity." It does not measure how many of those businesses survive (details!), but the list gives us an unusual look at which Americans are more likely to strike out on their own. In 2013, about 476,000 new business owners were created every month.
The big takeaway is that more people are starting businesses because they want to, not out of necessity. Back during the Great Recession, many entrepreneurs were created out of necessity—they were people who had suddenly found themselves unemployed. Can't get a job? Make one. In 2013, however, Kauffman reports that levels of new business creation returned to 2006 levels.
"The decline in business activity may be due to improving economic conditions," the report says. In other words, you have a good job, why leave?
Other key findings:
--Immigrants are twice as likely to start their own businesses as native-born Americans.
--The only age group showing an increase in becoming business owners is 45- to 54-year-olds.
--The industry with the highest rate of new business owners was construction.
Here are the top five states for entrepreneurship, per capita.
The Centennial State has 380 new business owners every month per 100,000 adults. Perhaps a few of them are riding a Rocky Mountain High from the new pot economy.
The Golden State has high taxes, a high cost of living, lots of traffic, and smog, but California has always been a magnate for entrepreneurs. The Kauffman Index said there were 400 new business owners popping up monthly per 100,000 adults in 2013. I mean, have you watched “Silicon Valley” on HBO? Not only are there new tech companies born in California every minute, but new TV shows about them are being born, too.
#3: South Dakota
This one may surprise you. One might suspect that if either Dakota was going to be highlighted, it would be North Dakota, which is experiencing a major energy boom. But no, it’s the other Dakota in the spotlight, with 410 new business owners monthly per 100,000 adults. South Dakota also happens to be CNBC's 2013 Top State for Business.
It may be cold in Alaska, but apparently it's a hot place for entrepreneurs. Kauffman reports 470 monthly new business owners per 100,000 adults. Hmmm. Really? Tourism, maybe? Fishing? (Watch the video to see me attempt to throw salmon in the face of a "fisherman.") Oil services? Perhaps Alaskans are more individualistic than the rest of America and prefer to work for themselves.
Speaking of rugged individualism, Montana has it in spades. Big Sky country tops the Kauffman Index with a whopping 610 new business owners monthly per 100,000 adults. Sure, there are plenty of ranchers and lots of mining and timber, but Montana is also a growing hub for microbreweries. In fact, the state is third in the nation, behind Vermont and Oregon, for the number of craft brewers per capita. I'll drink to that.
Which states did not score well in the index? Watch the video for one big surprise.