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The Retreat of the Rural Entrepreneur

The Retreat of the Rural Entrepreneur

Daniel Wilmoth, Ph.D. for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy

First published September 2017

In 1988, more than a fourth of the self-employed lived in rural areas. By 2016, that share had fallen to less than 1 in 6. This report shows that the decline was caused by a population shift away from rural areas and a fall in the rural rate of self-employment. Between 1988 and 2016, the rural rate of self-employment fell by over 20 percent. Despite that decline, the rate of self-employment has remained higher in rural areas than in other areas.

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