Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits

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Contains counts of actively trading businesses, rates of entry to and exit from the market sector of the economy, and rates of business survival.

Reference period
July 2017 - June 2021

Key statistics

At June 30 2021 there were 2,402,254 actively trading businesses in the Australian economy.

In 2020-21 there was a: 

  • 3.8%, or 87,806, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 15.8% entry rate, with 365,480 entries.
  • 12.0% exit rate, with 277,674 exits.

Information on quarterly experimental counts of Australian businesses for the 8 quarters ending March 2022 can be found below and in the associated data cube. 

Additions to the release published on 20 May 2022 include:

  • March quarter 2022 experimental estimates data. 
  • Timeseries and seasonally adjusted quarterly experimental estimates data, March quarter 2013 - March quarter 2022.

There have been some impacts on CABEE series as a result of COVID-19.  Refer to the Technical Note for further information.

The number of actively trading businesses in this release differs from the total number of entities with an Australian Business Number (ABN).

A table of the conceptual and practical basis of counts is published in the Methodology section of this release detailing how these counts differ.

Further splits of entries and exits are being introduced into the annual data for the first time as part of this release. For further information please refer to the Technical Note.


The scope of CABEE has been revised to exclude superannuation funds. Refer to the Technical Note for more information.

In 2020-21 the three industries with the largest net increase in businesses were: 

  • Construction (an increase of 16,603 to 410,839 businesses)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical services (an increase of 14,432 to 316,462 businesses)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (an increase of 10,674 to 159,076 businesses)

The three industries with the largest percentage growth in businesses in 2020-21 were:

  • Other Services (+7.4%, with an increase of 7,868 to 114,575 total)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (+7.2%, with an increase of 10,674 to 159,076 total)
  • Retail Trade (+6.3%, with an increase of 8,593 to 145,079 total)

The industry with the largest percentage decrease in businesses in 2020-21 was:

  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing (-2.8%, with an decrease of 5,589 to 194,459 total)

States and territories

In 2020-21 there was a:

  • 5.8% increase in the number of businesses in the Australian Capital Territory, the largest percentage growth in any state/territory, with an increase of 1,732 to 31,499 total.
  • 4.0% increase in the number of businesses in New South Wales, with an increase of 31,245 to 817,648 total.
  • 2.8% increase in the number of businesses in the Northern Territory (407 to 14,947 total), and South Australia (4,085 to 149,404 total) the joint lowest percentage growth of any state/territory.

Institutional sector

At the end of 2020-21 households accounted for 54.0% of all businesses, the largest of any institutional sector.

In 2020-21 there was a:

  • 5.4% increase in non-financial corporations, with an increase of 52,190 to 1,016,547 total.
  • 7.6% increase in financial corporations, with an increase of 6,013 to 84,664 total.
  • 2.3% increase in households, with an increase of 29,770 to 1,297,960 total.

Type of legal organsiation

In 2020-21 companies had the largest net growth of any type of legal organisation, increasing by 59,850 businesses, or 6.5% to 986,515 total.

There was also a:

  • 3.0% increase in sole proprietors, with an increase of 20,402 to 707,971 total.
  • 1.6% decrease in partnerships, with a decrease of 3,899 to 236,114 total.
  • 20.3% entry rate for sole proprietors, with 139,559 entries.

Employment size

Employment data in this section was created using an experimental point-in-time employment indicator to capture the impact of COVID-19.

The annualised employment data typically published in CABEE is available as normal in the datacubes. Refer to the Methodology, or the About tab of the relevant datacubes, for more information.

There have been some impacts on CABEE employment series as a result of COVID-19.  Refer to the Technical Note for further information.

In 2020-21 the number of employing businesses increased by 13.6%, with a net movement of 58,209 surviving businesses from non-employing to employing.

There was a:

  • 15.2% increase in businesses with 1-4 employees, increasing by 92,495 to 699,623 total.
  • 7.6% increase in businesses with 5-19 employees, increasing by 16,198 to 230,633 total.
  • 2.2% decrease in non-employing businesses, decreasing by 31,056 to 1,410,049 total.

Turnover size

This turnover data was created using annual turnover data for the four quarters ending December 2020, and so does not capture the full impacts of COVID-19 during 2020-21. Refer to the Article for further information.

In 2020-21:

  • 93.0% of businesses had turnover of less than $2 million.
  • 28.7% of businesses had turnover of less than $50,000.
  • 81.7% of exits had turnover of less than $200,000.

There was a:

  • 12.5% increase in businesses with turnover of less than $50,000, with an increase of 76,588 to 689,620 total.
  • 0.5% decrease in businesses with turnover of $5 million to $10 million and $10 million or more.

Interactive map

Counts of Australian businesses, including entries and exits June 2017 to June 2021 - interactive map

Interactive map

This map uses data contained in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, June 2017 to June 2021

How to use

  • Navigating topics: maps can be selected via the drop-down menu (mobile devices) or the tabs (larger screens).
  • Search: the search icon opens the search function. It is set to look for locations such as addresses, suburbs and postcodes contained within an SA2 or LGA.
  • Data: on each map, an SA2 or LGA region can be selected to view the underlying data. Data for all SA2s and LGAs can be found in the Data downloads section of this publication.
  • If the maps do not load successfully, please try refreshing this page.

More information

  • Local Government Area boundaries are the standard geographical areas of incorporated local government councils. Statistical Area 2 boundaries are presented according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3. For more information see the Statistical Geography page of the ABS website.
  • Units in the profiled population are not included in LGA or SA2 level geography.
  • For businesses in the non-profiled population, the main business address of a business relates to the physical address where the main business activity takes place.
  • Businesses can operate in more than one geographical location and be represented by a single ABN. These are referred to as multi-location businesses. For the purposes of this release, multi-location businesses are attributed to one geographical classification to prevent double counting of businesses. The individual locations of businesses with multiple sites are not available. The issues of geocoding multi location businesses are more pronounced in counts at smaller geographies, as multi location businesses will only be attributed to a single SA2/LGA. As such, it cannot be assumed that business counts (or main industry) at each geographical level reflect all business operations within that geography.
  • Detailed data information is available in the Methodology.

Quarterly experimental counts

Quarterly experimental counts of Australian businesses for the 8 quarters ending March 2022, have been made available. For further information on the methodological differences between the quarterly and annual counts please refer to the Technical Note.

In the March quarter 2022 there was a:

  • 2.0% or 50,057, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 5.1% entry rate, with 126,638 entries.
  • 3.1% exit rate, with 76,581 exits.
  • 3.2% increase in non-employing businesses and 0.3% increase in total employing businesses.

Seasonally adjusted data

There is a strong seasonal pattern in the counts of Total Businesses, Business Entries and Business Exits. To assist in distinguishing between short-term trends and the seasonal patterns, seasonally adjusted counts have been prepared for these headline figures.  For more information, please refer to the methodology.

In the March 2022 quarter, in seasonally adjusted terms, there was a:

  • 1.8%, or 45,398, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 5.6% entry rate, with 139,479 entries.
  • 3.7% exit rate, with 90,482 exits.
Count of businesses, entries and exits, December 2021 and March 2022, Australia
Dec-21Change (%)Mar-22Change (%)
Total Businesses2,459,1860.52,509,2432
Business Entries128,639-16.6126,638-1.6
Business Exits116,4796.476,581-34.3
Seasonally Adjusted
Total Businesses2,470,9721.62,516,3701.8
Business Entries130,384-2.6139,4797
Business Exits88,505-18.990,4822.2

Trend estimates are not calculated for these series as they require the irregular component to be accounted for and this cannot be accurately estimated at this point.

Industry subdivision

In the March quarter 2022, the three subdivisions with the largest net quarterly increase in businesses were:

  • Construction Services (+7,897 businesses)
  • Property Operators and Real Estate Services (+4,531 businesses)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (Except Computer System Design and Related Services) (+4,318 businesses)

Data downloads

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8165.0.

Post-release changes

17 February 2022 - Minor updates made to Technical note- COVID-19 impacts to include December quarter 2021 data.

21 December 2021: An interactive map that allows users to explore business counts data at the Local Government Area (LGA) and Statistical Area 2 (SA2) geographical levels is being released today.

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