Between 1997 and 2012, the number of women-owned businesses grew at a pace that was 1.5 times the national average, according to the study. More than 8.3 million businesses--or 29% of all businesses--are now owned by women.
For the most part, the study found, the biggest growth has come in Southern states. States where woman-owned businesses had the fastest growth rates over that time period included Georgia (with 95% growth), North Carolina (83%), Mississippi (75%), and Texas (75%). One Western outlier was Nevada, which had a 92% surge in woman-owned businesses.
The lowest growth rates were in Alaska (11%), Iowa (21%), West Virginia (22%), Kansas (25%), and Ohio (25%).
But despite the high growth rates, the survey held some less cheery news for female entrepreneurs: Woman-owned businesses only contribute 4% of total U.S. business revenues--$1.3 trillion--and employ roughly 7.7 million people, or just 6% of total employment.
CAITLIN BERENS writes about business innovation and entrepreneurs. Before Inc., she worked at Billboard, SELF, and Better Homes and Gardens. She attended Drake University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. @CaitlinBerens