The Kauffman Index 2015: Startup Activity | National Trends

52 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2015 Last revised: 21 Oct 2015

See all articles by Robert W. Fairlie

Robert W. Fairlie

UCLA; National Bureau of Economic Research

Arnobio Morelix

Startup Genome

E. J. Reedy

University of Chicago - Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship

Joshua Russell-Fritch


Date Written: May 28, 2015


The Kauffman Index: Startup Activity is a novel early indicator of new business creation in the United States, integrating several high-quality sources of timely entrepreneurship information into one composite indicator of startup activity. The Index captures business activity in all industries, and is based on both a nationally representative sample size of more than a half million observations each year and on the universe of all employer businesses in the United States. This allows us to look at both entrepreneurs and the startups they create.

This report presents trends in startup activity over the past two decades for the United States, as well as for all the fifty states and the forty largest U.S metropolitan areas. Trends in startup activity also are reported at the national level for specific demographic groups for some of the Index components, when available. Broad-based entrepreneurship in America appears to be slowly crawling its way out of the depths it has been stuck in since 2010.

Startup activity rose in 2015, reversing a five-year downward trend in the United States, giving rise to hope for a revival of entrepreneurship. However, the return remains tepid and well below historical trends, as shown in the report. A principle driver of this year’s uptick is the growth of male opportunity entrepreneurship, accompanied by the continued strength of immigrant entrepreneurship. Males were hit particularly hard during the Great Recession.

In this report, we focus on startup activity at the national level.

Keywords: kauffman index, startup activity, entrepreneur, entrepreneurial activity, rate, united states, opportunity share, national

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W. and Morelix, Arnobio and Reedy, E. J. and Russell-Fritch, Joshua, The Kauffman Index 2015: Startup Activity | National Trends (May 28, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. Fairlie

UCLA ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States


Arnobio Morelix (Contact Author)

Startup Genome ( email )

212 Clara Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
United States

E. J. Reedy

University of Chicago - Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-0812 (Phone)

Joshua Russell-Fritch

Independent ( email )

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