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15 Cities With the Largest Increase in New Business Applications Since COVID-19

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Workers of all ages
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses, which are estimated to employ nearly half of all American workers. A recent Federal Reserve Bank study noted that the pandemic caused an additional 200,000 businesses to close their doors last year, with small businesses comprising the bulk of the difference.

However, it hasn’t been all bad news for the nation’s small businesses. A real-time survey of business applications conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau offers encouraging results: the increase in business shutdowns combined with changes in consumer preferences created gaps for new entrants to fill, resulting in a strong resurgence of new businesses.

From 2019 to 2020, there was a nearly 25% increase in new business applications, and that increase held relatively steady through 2021. About one-third of current applications are considered “high-propensity applications,” or those with a high likelihood of turning into a business with payroll.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau. To determine the locations with the largest increase in new business applications since the pandemic, researchers calculated the percentage change in new business applications from 2019 to 2020. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher total change in business applications from 2019 to 2020 was ranked higher.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the largest increase in new business applications since the start of the pandemic.

15. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +31.8%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +7,537

Total business applications in 2020: 31,202

Total business application in 2019: 23,665

14. Fresno, CA

Fresno California
stellamc / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +32.1%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +1,782

Total business applications in 2020: 7,332

Total business application in 2019: 5,550

13. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Aurora Illinois
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +32.2%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +10,944

Total business applications in 2020: 44,887

Total business application in 2019: 33,943

12. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Philadelphia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +33.4%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +25,103

Total business applications in 2020: 100,265

Total business application in 2019: 75,162

11. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Statue of King Neptune in Virginia Beach
JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.0%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +6,683

Total business applications in 2020: 25,783

Total business application in 2019: 19,100

10. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.3%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +4,070

Total business applications in 2020: 15,593

Total business application in 2019: 11,523

9. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Charlotte North Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.3%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,879

Total business applications in 2020: 45,487

Total business application in 2019: 33,608

8. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Houston, Texas
Nate Hovee / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +37.4%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +32,185

Total business applications in 2020: 118,183

Total business application in 2019: 85,998

7. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +37.6%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +5,773

Total business applications in 2020: 21,127

Total business application in 2019: 15,354

6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

Aerial view of downtown Detroit
Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +48.9%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +26,947

Total business applications in 2020: 82,098

Total business application in 2019: 55,151

5. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

DuSable bridge at twilight, Chicago.
Oleg Podzorov / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +49.7%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +51,394

Total business applications in 2020: 154,758

Total business application in 2019: 103,364

4. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Cleveland, Ohio
Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +54.5%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,302

Total business applications in 2020: 32,045

Total business application in 2019: 20,743

3. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

stormy sky in New Orleans, Louisiana
GJGK Photography / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +55.6%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +10,659

Total business applications in 2020: 29,830

Total business application in 2019: 19,171

2. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +56.8%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +73,365

Total business applications in 2020: 202,603

Total business application in 2019: 129,238

1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis Tennessee
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +77.7%

Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,554

Total business applications in 2020: 26,431

Total business application in 2019: 14,877

Methodology

Data entry on a laptop
baranq / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics. To determine the locations with the largest increase in new business applications since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers calculated the percentage change in business applications from 2019 to 2020.

In the event of a tie, the location with the higher total change in business applications from 2019 to 2020 was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.



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