Race and Social Problems

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 42–63 | Cite as

Young Adults’ Race, Wealth, and Entrepreneurship

  • Terri FriedlineEmail author
  • Stacia West


This study explored relationships among young adults’ wealth and entrepreneurial activities with emphasis on how these relationships differed among racial and ethnic groups. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, results indicated that young adults’ (N = 8984) higher accumulated amounts of wealth were associated with pursuing self-employment at higher rates; however, differences emerged when the associations were explored with various types of wealth and within racial and ethnic groups. Black young adults’ greater debt and net worth were associated with their increased likelihoods of self-employment. Among Latino/a young adults, greater liquid assets and net worth were associated with increased likelihoods of self-employment. Wealth was unrelated to white young adults’ self-employment. Wealth appeared to play an outsized role in the self-employment of black and Latino/a young adults compared to that of their white counterparts. In other words, 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.


Young adults Entrepreneurship Self-employment Wealth Inequality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WelfareUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WelfareUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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