While Sasha and Malia Obama haven’t publicly announced that they plan to start businesses, they share something in common with the kids most likely to have such plans: They’re African-American.
According to a Gallup poll of a representative sample of 1,721 children in fifth through twelfth grade conducted this Spring, African-American kids were significantly more likely than White kids to report that they plan to start a business. While 39 percent of White children said they plan to start a business, 52 percent of African-American kids reported this intention.
These numbers are interesting because they are so different from current adult self-employment rates. According to a recent study by Steve Hipple of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-Americans had lower incorporated and unincorporated self-employment rates than Whites. For unincorporated self-employment the rates were 7.4 percent for Whites and 4.5 percent for African-Americans. For incorporated self-employment, the rates were 4.2 percent for Whites and 1.5 percent for African-Americans.
Does the divergence between children’s plans and adult actions represent a generational shift in attitudes toward entrepreneurship among children of different races? Or does it demonstrate the greater obstacles that African-Americans face in achieving their entrepreneurial ambitions? I don’t know.
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