US Entrepreneurs Skew Older Than Counterparts in the UK

Apr 9, 2024 10:00 AM ET

As originally published by GoDaddy’s Venture Forward Research Initiative

The big fact

Microbusiness owners in the U.S. skew older than those in the U.K. In the U.S., 63% of microbusiness entrepreneurs are Generation X (age 40-54) or baby boomers (age 55+), compared to 49% in the U.K., where millennials (age 25-39) take the lead. 

Older generations make more in the U.S.

One in six microbusiness owners from all generations earn over $100K or £180K, but the breakdown in age groups differs between the U.S. and U.K.

In the U.S., the older the microbusiness owner, the more they make, compared to the U.K., where earnings are more evenly split among age groups. In the U.S., 60% of Gen X and 62% of baby boomers earn over $100K, while 25-26% of Generation Z, Gen X and baby boomers from the U.K. report revenue over £180K.

US & UK Entrepreneurs

Which generation has the most entrepreneurs?

US: 41% Gen X (40 - 54)

  • 33% Millennials (25 - 39)
  • 22% Baby Boomers (55+)
  • 3% Gen Z (18 - 24)

UK: 45% Millennials (25 - 39)

  • 37% Gen X (40 - 54)
  • 12% Baby Boomers (55+)
  • 6% Gen Z (18 - 24)

Breakdown of those earning over $100k or £180k

US: 62% Baby Boomers (55+)

  • 60% Gen X (40 - 54)
  • 56% Gen Z (18 - 24)

UK: 26% Gen Z (18 - 24)

  • 25% Gen X (40 - 54)
  • 25% Baby Boomers (55+)

Source: GoDaddy Venture Forward U.S. & U.K. National Surveys. August 2023 (N-U.S. = 3.525 // N-U.K. = 2.651

More money, less optimism

Despite being the highest earners, baby boomers in the U.S. report less optimism about their overall expectation for their business during the next six months, with only 65% indicating a positive outlook, compared to 77% of Gen Z respondents.

Additionally, entrepreneurs who generate significantly more revenue, particularly those with over $600K or £500K, reported higher levels of stress, anxiety and burnout.

Younger generations may be more entrepreneurial

Not only is Gen Z the most optimistic group of microbusiness owners in the U.S., but they may also be the most entrepreneurial. 37% of Gen Z in the U.S. always dreamed of starting their own businesses, versus the 22% of Gen X and 15% of baby boomers, according to Venture Forward data. A recent study revealed that 50% of Gen Z aspire to become an entrepreneur.

And, in the U.S., 75% of Gen Z hope to turn their microbusiness into their primary source of income, compared to 58% of baby boomers, who often start a side business after retirement or continue one as a hobby.

The research

GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative analyzes more than 20 million online businesses with a digital presence (measured by a unique domain and an active website). Most of these businesses employ fewer than ten people, categorizing each as a microbusiness. While these microbusinesses may be small, their impact on economies is outsized even though they are often too informal or too new to show up in traditional government statistics. 

Since 2018, Venture Forward surveyed more than 36,000 small business owners with a digital presence, making it the source for microbusiness data and insights.