2015’s Best Cities for Black Entrepreneurs

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE With the economy steadily improving, now is as good a time as any to make the leap into entrepreneurship. And while we’ve already looked at the best places for women entrepreneurs, we wanted to find the best, most supportive environments for another group that’s growing yet often under-represented when it comes to […]

BY Paul Southerland

2015’s Best Cities for Black Entrepreneurs

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

With the economy steadily improving, now is as good a time as any to make the leap into entrepreneurship. And while we’ve already looked at the best places for women entrepreneurs, we wanted to find the best, most supportive environments for another group that’s growing yet often under-represented when it comes to business ownership: African Americans.

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To find out just where black entrepreneurs and business owners are thriving, we evaluated cities on a number of metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. We considered each city’s economic health, the strength of its job market, its educational values and its concentration of African American-owned businesses:

methodology2

Read on to see which cities made the list, view our full set of data, and get insights from African American entrepreneurs and other business experts:

Voices for Black Entrepreneurs

Maine
New Jersey
North Dakota
Kansas
Nebraska
Iowa
Massachusetts
Wisconsin
New Hampshire
Vermont
Maine

10. Maine

GoodCall score: 33.75

Population: 1,330,089

Average SAT score: 1387

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.30%

High school dropout rate: 3.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.42

AP schools per 1,000: 0.103

New Jersey

9. New Jersey

GoodCall score: 34.15

Population: 8,938,175

Average SAT score: 1526

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.50%

High school dropout rate: 4.00%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.35

AP course availability: 0.056

North Dakota

8. North Dakota

GoodCall score: 35.15

Population: 739,482

Average SAT score: 1816

High school graduation rate: 91%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.50%%

High school dropout rate: 6.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.27

AP course availability: 0.038

Kansas

7. Kansas

GoodCall score: 36.50

Population: 2,904,021

Average SAT score: 1753

High school graduation rate: 89%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.40%

High school dropout rate: 4.40%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.54

AP course availability: 0.041

Nebraska

6. Nebraska

GoodCall score: 36.55

Population: 1,881,503

Average SAT score: 1745

High school graduation rate: 93%

College enrollment (18-24): 48.30%

High school dropout rate: 4.30%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.30

AP course availability: 0.040

Iowa

5. Iowa

GoodCall score: 37.25

Population: 3,107,126

Average SAT score: 1794

High school graduation rate: 89%

College enrollment (18-24): 45.40%

High school dropout rate: 4.60%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 0.83

AP course availability: 0.069

Massachusetts

4. Massachusetts

GoodCall score: 38.60

Population: 6,745,408

Average SAT score: 1556

High school graduation rate: 86%

College enrollment (18-24): 53.50%

High school dropout rate: 3.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.41

AP course availability: 0.064

Wisconsin

3. Wisconsin

GoodCall score: 40.40

Population: 5,757,564

Average SAT score: 1782

High school graduation rate: 92%

College enrollment (18-24): 45.10%

High school dropout rate: 4.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.35

AP course availability: 0.079

New Hampshire

2. New Hampshire

GoodCall score: 41.45

Population: 1,326,813

Average SAT score: 1566

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 49.10%

High school dropout rate: 2.90%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.92

AP course availability: 0.074

Vermont

1. Vermont

GoodCall score: 44.70

Population: 626,562

Average SAT score: 1554

High school graduation rate: 93%

College enrollment (18-24): 50.70%

High school dropout rate: 3.20%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 2.79

AP course availability: 0.109

The Top 10 Places for Black Entrepreneurs

10. New York-New Jersey-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

GoodCall score: 279.30
Networking rank: 53
Economic health rank: 24
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 11.65
YoY change in GDP: 1.01%
African American educational attainment: 22.07%
Unemployment rate: 29.60%

9. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

GoodCall score: 286.70
Networking rank: 17 47
Economic health rank: 98 159
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 13.14
YoY change in GDP: 1.42%
African American educational attainment: 26.98%
Unemployment rate: 8.60%

8. Oklahoma City, OK

GoodCall score: 287.10
Networking rank: 165
Economic health rank: 15
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 3.98
YoY change in GDP: 2.78%
African American educational attainment: 20.03%
Unemployment rate: 6.20%

7. Manhattan, KS

GoodCall score: 289.25
Networking rank: 192
Economic health rank: 43
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 2.90
YoY change in GDP: 1.82%
African American educational attainment: 34.80%
Unemployment rate: 4.30%

6. Austin-Round Rock, TX

GoodCall score: 289.50
Networking rank: 190
Economic health rank: 11
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 3.06
YoY change in GDP: 5.16%
African American educational attainment: 24.17%
Unemployment rate: 7.50%

5. Hood River, OR

GoodCall score: 292.25
Networking rank: 251
Economic health rank: 6
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 1.70
YoY change in GDP: 3.57%
African American educational attainment: 39.06%
Unemployment rate: 5.30%

4. Baton Rogue, LA

GoodCall score: 292.50
Networking rank: 19
Economic health rank: 77
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 17.79
YoY change in GDP: 1.92%
African American educational attainment: 18.39%
Unemployment rate: 7.80%

3. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

GoodCall score: 309.00
Networking rank: 86
Economic health rank: 24
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 8.10
YoY change in GDP: 5.16%
African American educational attainment: 23.40%
Unemployment rate: 8.10%

2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland, TX

GoodCall score: 313.20
Networking rank: 73
Economic health rank: 24
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 9.47
YoY change in GDP: 5.16%
African American educational attainment: 23.41%
Unemployment rate: 8.10%

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD

GoodCall score: 323.65
Networking rank: 72
Economic health rank: 72
African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents: 15.82
YoY change in GDP: 1.56%
African American educational attainment: 30.62%
Unemployment rate: 7.00%

 

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The Data

Rank Metro/Micro Statistical Area GoodCall Score Population Networking Rank Economic Health Rank (Unemployment + % Change in GDP) African American-Owned Businesses per 1,000 Residents % Change in GDP, YoY African American Educational Attainment Unemployment Rate
1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD 323.65 6,033,737 26 72 15.82 1.56% 30.62% 7.00%
2 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 313.20 6,490,180 73 24 9.47 5.16% 23.41% 8.10%
3 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 309.00 6,954,330 86 24 8.10 5.16% 23.40% 8.10%
4 Baton Rouge, LA 292.50 825,478 19 77 17.79 1.92% 18.39% 7.80%
5 Hood River, OR 292.25 22,885 251 6 1.70 3.57% 39.06% 5.30%
6 Austin-Round Rock, TX 289.50 1,943,299 190 11 3.06 5.16% 24.17% 7.50%
7 Manhattan, KS 289.25 98,091 192 43 2.90 1.82% 34.80% 4.30%
8 Oklahoma City, OK 287.10 1,336,767 165 15 3.98 2.78% 20.03% 6.20%
9 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 286.70 542,710 47 159 13.14 1.42% 26.98% 8.60%
10 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 279.30 20,092,883 53 97 11.65 2.53% 22.07% 9.60%
11 Raleigh, NC 278.90 1,242,974 75 159 9.39 1.42% 27.21% 8.60%
12 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 278.35 5,614,323 11 196 22.66 2.32% 26.85% 11.50%
13 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 277.30 2,328,652 213 18 2.50 5.16% 24.09% 7.90%
14 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 272.60 2,785,874 40 209 14.09 0.83% 22.16% 8.40%
15 Ann Arbor, MI 268.45 356,874 105 126 6.88 1.88% 24.80% 9.10%
16 Columbus, OH 268.15 1,994,536 114 85 6.37 2.08% 19.80% 8.20%
17 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 267.30 2,754,258 215 35 2.44 4.66% 23.94% 8.30%
18 Savannah, GA 264.70 372,708 21 116 16.75 2.32% 17.69% 9.80%
19 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 264.35 1,792,649 125 121 5.77 1.69% 23.41% 8.40%
20 Lawrence, KS 263.40 116,585 239 61 1.96 1.82% 30.19% 6.90%
21 Tulsa, OK 263.20 969,224 181 24 3.34 2.78% 17.89% 7.30%
22 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 261.60 4,732,161 179 66 3.42 2.30% 23.38% 8.30%
23 Grand Forks, ND-MN 260.50 101,842 372 2 0.29 6.26% 32.63% 5.00%
24 Tallahassee, FL 259.50 375,751 50 162 12.73 2.72% 21.83% 11.60%
25 Boulder, CO 259.45 313,333 334 10 0.69 4.66% 41.26% 7.30%
26 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 259.40 4,594,060 168 64 3.88 2.82% 23.39% 9.40%
27 Ithaca, NY 258.20 104,691 319 29 0.84 2.53% 33.33% 5.90%
28 Montgomery, AL 257.75 373,141 8 281 24.78 0.69% 18.94% 9.20%
29 Columbia, SC 257.20 800,495 54 181 11.56 2.20% 20.73% 10.50%
30 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 255.00 729,135 89 188 7.98 0.78% 19.05% 8.00%
31 Tyler, TX 254.70 218,842 104 24 6.95 5.16% 13.50% 8.10%
32 Champaign-Urbana, IL 254.35 237,252 138 108 5.09 1.24% 18.76% 7.40%
33 Fargo, ND-MN 252.90 228,291 371 1 0.30 6.26% 24.00% 4.40%
34 Marshall, TX 251.70 67,336 90 54 7.97 5.16% 15.70% 9.60%
35 Opelousas, LA 251.55 83,709 29 49 15.65 1.92% 10.31% 6.70%
36 El Paso, TX 251.25 836,698 259 39 1.63 5.16% 28.54% 9.00%
37 Longview, TX 250.30 217,481 109 8 6.70 5.16% 11.17% 7.20%
38 Provo-Orem, UT 250.30 571,460 363 14 0.36 3.11% 42.01% 7.20%
39 Monroe, LA 249.45 178,864 34 83 14.61 1.92% 12.35% 8.00%
40 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 248.00 1,251,849 38 122 14.46 1.92% 15.01% 9.20%
41 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 246.95 13,262,220 148 115 4.83 2.82% 23.83% 10.90%
42 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 246.80 3,671,478 217 44 2.40 3.03% 20.20% 8.70%
43 College Station-Bryan, TX 246.60 242,905 163 31 4.10 5.16% 15.34% 8.30%
44 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 246.40 3,495,176 184 101 3.25 1.37% 19.81% 7.40%
45 Shreveport-Bossier City, LA 245.25 445,142 64 83 10.58 1.92% 13.34% 8.00%
46 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 245.15 5,929,819 20 180 16.80 2.72% 17.36% 11.90%
47 Jackson, MS 245.10 577,564 16 331 20.42 -1.18% 19.51% 9.50%
48 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 244.85 1,716,624 63 275 10.60 0.02% 18.75% 8.40%
49 Key West, FL 244.80 77,136 119 37 6.12 2.72% 13.02% 7.50%
50 Logan, UT-ID 243.75 131,364 376 12 0.24 3.11% 33.03% 7.10%
51 Richmond, VA 243.35 1,260,029 57 289 11.19 0.02% 18.72% 8.60%
52 Midland, TX 242.40 161,290 210 3 2.54 5.16% 13.01% 4.40%
53 Huntsville, AL 241.95 441,086 88 317 7.99 0.69% 26.42% 9.90%
54 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 240.10 2,321,418 92 154 7.92 2.72% 19.15% 11.50%
55 Greensboro-High Point, NC 239.60 746,593 55 286 11.31 1.42% 20.56% 10.90%
56 Charleston, WV 239.35 222,878 261 16 1.59 5.12% 17.86% 7.70%
57 Colorado Springs, CO 239.25 686,908 232 58 2.12 4.66% 22.33% 9.50%
58 Corpus Christi, TX 238.65 448,108 247 21 1.78 5.16% 17.64% 8.00%
59 Cheyenne, WY 237.75 96,389 360 4 0.38 5.14% 19.90% 5.70%
60 Billings, MT 236.90 166,885 359 52 0.40 1.75% 41.13% 5.30%
61 Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC 236.45 203,022 95 104 7.82 2.20% 15.40% 9.20%
62 Clarksburg, WV 236.35 94,221 365 16 0.35 5.12% 26.48% 7.70%
63 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 235.15 880,167 218 39 2.39 2.53% 16.80% 7.70%
64 Vicksburg, MS 234.65 57,063 42 306 13.74 -1.18% 17.44% 8.70%
65 Fort Collins, CO 234.60 324,122 355 31 0.42 4.66% 28.39% 8.10%
66 Madison, WI 234.30 633,787 260 93 1.63 1.01% 21.38% 5.70%
67 Warner Robins, GA 234.25 187,516 93 182 7.88 2.32% 18.69% 11.20%
68 Odessa, TX 234.15 153,904 269 5 1.51 5.16% 14.86% 6.20%
69 Nacogdoches, TX 234.00 65,301 122 24 5.99 5.16% 11.18% 8.10%
70 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 233.25 3,263,431 204 88 2.60 2.82% 21.72% 10.00%
71 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 233.20 1,143,772 48 312 12.99 0.69% 18.51% 9.80%
72 Jacksonville, FL 232.65 1,419,127 87 136 8.07 2.72% 17.20% 11.00%
73 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 232.55 583,632 35 172 14.55 2.32% 14.90% 10.90%
74 Orangeburg, SC 232.40 90,090 7 286 24.81 2.20% 18.13% 14.30%
75 Gainesville, FL 232.35 273,377 121 71 5.99 2.72% 14.50% 9.00%
76 Manchester-Nashua, NH 231.85 405,184 317 45 0.87 2.29% 22.93% 7.40%
76 Ogden-Clearfield, UT 231.85 632,293 356 9 0.42 3.11% 19.75% 6.30%
78 Dover, DE 231.70 171,987 107 247 6.78 1.16% 19.56% 9.80%
79 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 231.60 9,554,598 62 303 10.63 1.24% 19.77% 11.00%
80 Kansas City, MO-KS 230.55 2,071,133 156 164 4.41 0.91% 17.90% 7.80%
80 Springfield, IL 230.55 211,567 145 136 4.84 1.24% 17.02% 8.10%
82 Muskogee, OK 230.05 69,966 180 60 3.34 2.78% 16.29% 8.90%
83 Brookhaven, MS 229.55 34,775 32 241 15.18 -1.18% 13.31% 7.60%
84 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 229.35 846,178 288 79 1.23 2.82% 31.31% 9.60%
85 Juneau, AK 229.25 32,406 300 182 1.05 -1.33% 72.89% 5.30%
86 Hinesville, GA 228.45 82,311 22 258 16.60 2.32% 17.45% 14.00%
86 Killeen-Temple, TX 228.45 424,858 169 50 3.84 5.16% 15.45% 9.50%
88 Worcester, MA-CT 228.05 930,473 255 100 1.67 2.30% 24.96% 9.40%
88 Iowa City, IA 228.05 164,357 305 134 1.00 0.42% 29.99% 4.30%
90 Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 227.65 560,849 185 69 3.25 1.79% 14.86% 7.20%
91 Charlottesville, VA 227.40 226,968 123 162 5.88 0.02% 14.39% 5.60%
92 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 226.80 904,421 214 120 2.47 0.75% 18.15% 6.20%
93 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 226.45 1,343,230 13 284 21.22 1.69% 15.93% 11.50%
93 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 226.45 2,915,582 127 145 5.55 2.72% 18.47% 11.30%
95 Torrington, CT 225.90 184,993 244 234 1.82 0.62% 35.40% 8.30%
96 Kennewick-Richland, WA 225.90 274,295 346 30 0.56 3.03% 21.65% 7.80%
97 Columbus, GA-AL 225.55 314,005 9 203 24.09 2.32% 13.83% 11.70%
98 Barre, VT 224.85 58,998 332 132 0.69 0.60% 55.78% 5.80%
99 State College, PA 224.40 158,742 344 59 0.57 1.79% 23.08% 5.80%
100 Auburn-Opelika, AL 224.00 154,255 60 291 10.81 0.69% 16.55% 9.40%

 
To see our entire set of rankings, click here.

Methodology

To evaluate the best places for black entrepreneurs in 2015, we used the following metrics to evaluate more than 370 cities:

  • Networking rank: We calculated each city’s networking rank by looking at its number of African American-owned businesses per 1,000 residents, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder 2007 Survey of Business Owners. This represents 30% of our overall score.
  • Educational attainment: We looked at educational attainment for each city, defined as the percentage of black residents who have achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder 2013 ACS 5-year estimates. This represents 30% of our overall score.
  • Unemployment rate: We also considered each city’s unemployment rate, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder 2007 Survey of Business Owners. This represents 25% of our overall score.
  • GDP: Finally, we included each cities year-over-year change in gross domestic product from 2012 to 2013, using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This represents 15% of our overall score.