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Access to Credit for Small and Minority-Owned Businesses

Equal access to small-business credit is a critical underpinning to equity in economic opportunity; however, it is difficult to regularly assess the fairness of credit provision. This article provides preliminary results on new credit access questions added to the Census Bureau’s 2021 Annual Business Survey. The authors find that minority-owned businesses generally were just as likely to apply for credit in 2020, but Black-, Asian-, and Hispanic-owned businesses were less likely than white-owned businesses to report receiving all of the credit that they sought. Also, Black-, Asian-, and Hispanic-owned businesses more frequently reported seeking credit in order to cover operating expenses rather than for financing capital expenditures or expansion. Heading into 2022, minority-owned businesses report weaker ongoing viability.