Young Adults' Race, Wealth, and Enterpreneurship

Friedline, Terri
West, Stacia
Financial Inclusion
Publication type: 
Working Paper

This study explored relationships among young adults’ wealth and entrepreneurial activities with emphasis on how these relationships differ among racial and ethnic groups. Using data (N = 8,984) from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, results indicate that being Black or Latino/a, as well as liquid asset holdings and net worth, were significantly related to the likelihood of self-employment. In analyses disaggregated by race or ethnicity, greater liquid asset holdings were associated with the decreased likelihood of self-employment among white young adults. Black young adults’ greater debt and net worth were associated with increased likelihoods of entrepreneurial activity. Among Latino/a young adults, greater liquid asset holdings and net worth were associated with increased likelihoods of self-employment. Wealth may play an outsized role in the self-employment of black and Latino/a young adults compared to that of their white counterparts. Racial and ethnic minority young adults may have a heavier burden for generating their own capital to embark on entrepreneurial activities when mainstream credit markets are unresponsive or inaccessible. Policy implications are discussed.

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Friedline, T., & West, S. (2015). Young adults' race, wealth, and entrepreneurship. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion.

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