The quick answer is most are male, white, married and over the age of 45.
The longer answer comes from The 2009 Small Business Economy, the SBA Office of Advocacy's annual report to the President on how the small business sector of the U.S. economy fared in the prior year.
The report contains a lot of information and quite a bit of data on small businesses. This year's report also has an overview of self-employment, including a look at self-employment demographics.
According to the report, the self-employed are "...overwhelmingly male, White, married and older..." And the data for 2007 clearly supports this description:
- 66.7% of the self-employed are men
- 87.4% are white
- 70.5% are married
- 61.2% are 45 or older
There are a couple of interesting trends in the data. Between 2000 and 2007 total self-employment grew 14.7%. But a couple of segments grew much faster:
- Hispanic self-employed grew 110%, by far the fastest growing demographic segment
- 55-64 was the fastest growing age segment, up 53%
- Under 25 was the 2nd fastest growing self-employment age group, up 26%
For those not interested in reading the entire report, the self-employment data is on page 110 and the text description starts on page 9.