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Lost Count

The U.S. Census Bureau gets stingier about classifying businesses as women-owned.

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This story appears in the July 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Does your business count? Perhaps not-at least, not under new definitions that the Census Bureau used when performing its most recent survey of women-owned businesses.

In its 1992 survey, the Census Bureau defined women-owned businesses as those with female ownership of 50 percent or more, including public companies. But in its recently released "1997 Survey of Women-Owned Business Enterprises," the Census Bureau changed its definition to include only privately held companies with 51 percent or more female ownership. The result? According to the survey, the number of women-owned businesses dropped from 6.4 million in 1992 to 5.4 million.

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