While today’s older entrepreneurs are more likely to be male, white, and have relatively high levels of human, social, and financial capital, we know less about interest in later-life entrepreneurship.

The Diversity of Interest in Later-Life Entrepreneurship study, by Cal J. Halvorsen and Yu-Chih Chen, estimates entrepreneurial interest in a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 50 to 70. The authors estimate that more than 31 million older Americans have some interest in entrepreneurship; their study reveals key predictors of this interest.

Importantly, the findings indicate that a more diverse group of older adults are interested in entrepreneurship than have become entrepreneurs, suggesting the need for additional research on the potential disparities between entrepreneurial interest and action in later life.

Other headlines from the survey:

  • More than 31 million Americans aged 50 to 70 are interested in starting new businesses or nonprofit organizations in the next five to 10 years. (38.8% of the population.) More than 11 million state that they are very interested.
  • More than one in five (21%) of those with the highest interest state that their primary purpose would be to help others or meet a social challenge.
  • Older black Americans are more than twice as likely to be interested in launching new ventures than older white Americans. This is in contrast to actual rates of entrepreneurship, where white Americans have higher rates.
  • Higher education, income, and wealth do not lead to higher expressed interest, but those with higher levels of these factors are more likely to become entrepreneurs.

Contact: Cal Halvorsen, PhD, MSW, here.

Published: June 18, 2019