While the results are not yet in on how well they are doing, the creation of Black-owned businesses surged upward on the eve of the economic recession. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2002 to 2007, the number of these firms increased by 60.5 percent to 1.9 million, tripling the national growth rate of 18 percent.

According to the Census Bureau’s “Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Businesses: 2007,” the receipts produced by Black businesses also increased 55.1 percent to $137.5 billion. The survey, conducted by the Census every five years, provides in-depth information about Black firms’ sales, receipts, paid employees and payroll.

“Black-owned businesses continued to be one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, showing rapid growth in both the number of businesses and total sales during this time period,” Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg said in a statement.

The Census defines Black-owned businesses as firms in which African-Americans possess nearly 51 percent or more of the equity, interest or stock of the business.

The data is broken down by U.S. metropolitan areas, industry and size of business.

According to the report, New York holds the top spot for African-American firms, with nearly 204,032 Black-owned businesses. The state also accounted for 10.6 percent of all Black-owned businesses in the nation.

Georgia followed with 183,874 Black-owned firms, while Florida came in just behind with 181,437.

In the Washington-Maryland-Virginia metropolitan area, the number of Black businesses increased to 95,526 in 2007 from 67,213 in 2002.

Black businesses accounted for 34.6 percent of all businesses in Baltimore City in 2007, while in Washington D.C., they accounted for 28.2 percent of all businesses that same year.

The report also found that nearly four in 10 Black-owned businesses in the U.S. in 2007 were in the healthcare and social assistance; repair and maintenance and laundry services fields.

Other findings include the number of Black-owned businesses with receipts exceeding $1 million or more increased by 35.4 percent to 14,507 from 2002 to 2007. Also, out of the 1.9 million Black-owned businesses in 2007, 106,824 had paid employees, up 13 percent from 2002.

To view the full survey, visit: www.census.gov/econ/sbo/