Entrepreneurs are generally a "glass is half-full" kind of bunch anyway, but according to a new survey, the entrepreneurial spirit in America continues to thrive, even in this difficult economic environment.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey results released yesterday by the Kauffman Foundation and Babson College found that 10% of American adults were creating or growing a new business in 2002. While that number is still down dramatically from its high in 2000 of 37%, it is still 50% higher than it was in 1998.

The GEM also found that with venture capital funds hard to come by, many companies are turning to family members. According to the survey, of the about 5% of adults reported they had invested money in entrepreneurial companies, half said those funds went to companies owned by relatives. Wonder if Warren Buffett would be willing to adopt some new children?

Also in the report: Women continue to start less companies than their male counterparts. There was an especially large gender gap in the 18 to 24 year-old age bracket where men are three times more likely to start or grow a new company than women.

In response to the results, the Kauffman Foundation has some new goals: to improve access to capital, to promote more entrepreneurship by women, and to put more emphasis on entrepreneurship in the classroom.

(To listen to the webcast of the results, click here.)