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March 1994

Characteristics of self-employed women in the United States

Theresa J. Devine

One in 15 employed women was self-employed in her main job in 1990. The decision to become self-employed appears intricately linked with several other decisions for a woman-as individual, as a household member, and over the course of her life. This article uses data from the March 1976 and March 1991 Current Population Surveys and Income Supplements to answer the following questions: Who are the new self-employed women and how do they compare to their wage-and-salary counterparts, to male contemporaries, and to self-employed women of the past?

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