Beyoncé is one. So are Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lena Dunham and the Olsen twins. Yep, they’re all Millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, and they’re the biggest demographic bloc to enter the workforce since the Baby Boomers.
They also now account for $1.3 trillion in consumer spending and are online more than any other age group beside Gen X’ers.
Even so, Millennials have struggled to launch their adult lives in ways that few other generations before them have. There are more young adults living at home than there were five years ago in the depths of the Great Recession, and the unemployment rate for young people is two percentage points higher than the national average.
Despite these challenges, according to one report over a quarter of young people are self-employed, and they are launching 160,000 startups per month.
The Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey gives us some insight into where Millennial entrepreneurs are starting those businesses and how they believe their government is working best for them. Based on survey responses from 18,000 small business owners nationwide, we asked questions about the friendliness of local tax laws, licensing rules, and the regulatory environment, and we try to get a sense of what they see as the opportunities for training and networking in their area.
Photo credit: Millennials in the Workplace
Best Cities for Millennials Starting a Business
We use these responses to rank cities and states based on their friendliness to small business, from best (Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana, and Colorado) to worst (Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, and Illinois). We also looked at the 3,726 responses we got from entrepreneurs aged 34 and under to find out which cities are doing best for young entrepreneurs. Cities like Birmingham, Alabama and Boise, Idaho show up as surprise champions of younger small business owners.
Millennial entrepreneurs in our survey were more likely to self-identify as politically independent and far less likely to identify as a “strong” conservative or liberal than older business owners. They were more diverse in their ethnic backgrounds, and had a far more even ratio of male to female business owners than survey respondents overall. They also had a slightly more positive view of the overall economy, with 40 percent ranking it somewhat or very good as opposed to 37 percent of all survey respondents.
When it came to what priorities Millennial small business owners wanted the federal government to focus in on, like their older counterparts Millennials ranked the federal budget deficit and health care costs as priorities #1 and #2, but they were twice as likely to say that student loans and personal debt were major issues that politicians should pay attention to. For very young entrepreneurs under the age of 25, the issue of student loans was the second most important right behind the federal budget deficit.
See how your city did in the below interactive map: