Indicators of Entrepreneurial Activity: 2023

21 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2024

See all articles by Robert W. Fairlie

Robert W. Fairlie

UCLA; National Bureau of Economic Research

Date Written: January 27, 2024


Up-to-date information on trends in entrepeneurship are not readily available. This paper creates and reports trends for two important indicators of entrepreneurial activity through the end of 2023. Trends from 1996–2023 are examined for two measures: (i) the new entrepreneurship rate which captures the share of new entrepreneurs in a given month out of the population, and (ii) the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs which captures the percentage of new entrepreneurs who created their businesses out of opportunity instead of necessity. The measures were included in the discountinued series, the Kauffman Early-Stage Entrepreneurship (KESE) Index (reported in Early-Stage Entrepreneurship in the United States). The KESE series was previously known as the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity and The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. In 2023, the new entrepreneurship rate was 0.35 percent and the opportunity share was 85.2 percent. Both of these measures of entrepreneurship continued a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. The opportunity share dropped precipitously in the pandemic. In 2023, Entrepreneurship rates were the highest for men, Latinx Americans, and immigrants relative to their comparison groups, whereas opportunity shares were the highest for women, Asian Americans, and immigrants. Among states, Florida (0.60 percent), Texas (0.47 percent) and California (0.47 percent) had the highest new entrepreneurship rates in 2023 whereas Minnesota (0.17 percent), Kansas (0.18 percent), and Wisconsin (0.18 percent) had the lowest entrepreneurship rates. The opportunity share was the highest in Minnesota (97.2 percent), Iowa (95.5 percent), and Utah (94.6 percent), and the lowest in the District of Columbia (69.3 percent), Rhode Island (73.3 percent), Virginia (75.3 percent), and Indiana (75.3 percent).

Keywords: entrepreneurship, startups, self-employment, business ownership, entrepreneurs

JEL Classification: L26

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W., Indicators of Entrepreneurial Activity: 2023 (January 27, 2024). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. Fairlie (Contact Author)

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


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