Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits

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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 2018 - June 2022

Key statistics

At 30 June 2022 there were 2,569,900 actively trading businesses in the Australian economy.

In 2021-22 there was a: 

  • 7.0% or 167,646 increase in the number of businesses, of which 140,102 were non-employing businesses
  • 19.7% entry rate, with 472,731 entries
  • 12.7% exit rate, with 305,085 exits

Entries and exits

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 publication detailing how these counts differ.


In 2021-22 the three industries with the largest percentage growth in businesses were:

  • Administrative and Support Services (with an increase of 14.7% or 15,685 to 122,344 total)
  • Other Services (with an increase of 12.9% or 14,778 to 129,049 total)
  • Arts and Recreation Services (with an increase of 10.0% or 3,382 to 37,078 total)

The industry with the smallest percentage increase in businesses in 2021-22 was:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (with an increase of 1.4% or 2,384 to 175,333 total)

States and territories

In 2021-22 there was a:

  • 10.9% increase in the number of businesses in Victoria, the largest percentage growth in any state/territory, with an increase of 71,444 to 726,839 total
  • 7.7% increase in the number of businesses in the Australian Capital Territory, with an increase of 2,419 to 33,918 total
  • 4.7% increase in the number of businesses in Tasmania (1,896 to 42,614 total), the lowest percentage growth of any state/territory

Institutional sector

In 2021-22 there was a:

  • 8.9% (7,487) increase in financial corporations, to 91,426 total
  • 7.9% (102,940) increase in households to 1,401,062 total
  • 5.6% (57,073) increase in non-financial corporations to 1,074,311 total

Households accounted for 54.5% of all businesses, the largest of any institutional sector.

Type of legal organsiation

In 2021-22 sole proprietors had the largest net growth of any type of legal organisation, increasing by 90,239 businesses, or 12.7% to 798,209 total. This was driven by a 31.0% entry rate for sole proprietors, with 219,515 entries

There was also a:

  • 6.6% (65,600) increase in companies to 1,052,213 total
  • 1.8% (4,189) decrease in partnerships to 231,839 total

Employment size

Employment data in this section was created using annualised employment data typically published in CABEE.

An experimental point-in-time employment indicator to capture short term impacts is available in the datacubes. For more information, see the Methodology or the About tab of the relevant datacubes.

In 2021-22 the number of non-employing businesses increased by 9.9% (140,102), with a net movement of 14,978 surviving businesses from employing to non-employing.

There was also a:

  • 5.9% (3,309) increase in businesses with 20-199 employees to 59,355 total
  • 3.0% (6,675) increase in businesses with 5-19 employees to 227,102 total

  • 2.4% (17,395) increase in businesses with 1-4 employees to 728,759 total

Turnover size

In 2021-22:

  • 92.6% of businesses had turnover of less than $2 million
  • 27.2% of businesses had turnover of less than $50,000
  • 81.2% of exits had turnover of less than $200,000
  • There was a large net movement of surviving businesses into the upper turnover size ranges, with businesses having a turnover at or above $200,000 increasing by 61,627 collectively
  • The $5 million to less than $10 million turnover size range showed the largest percentage change, increasing by 14.3%, driven largely by the movement of 11,526 businesses from the $2m to less than $5m turnover size range

Interactive map

Interactive map - Count of Australian businesses including entries and exits, July 2018 ­– June 2022
The map opens in a new tab and is best viewed in full screen. If the map page does not load, refresh the page or try again later.

How to use
  • Use the headings under the main title to navigate to a topic and then use the buttons on the left to view different subsets of the data. 
  • If viewing on a mobile device or small screen the buttons to switch between data subsets may move to below the map. 
  • Click on a region of interest to view data about that region.
  • To search, click on the magnifying glass to open the search function. You can search for addresses, suburbs, and postcodes. 
Geographic areas

The boundaries used in the interactive map are:

  • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) 2021, ASGS Edition 3 Main Structure boundaries according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
  • Local Government Area (LGA) 2021, ASGS Edition 3 Non-ABS Structures boundaries according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3, June 2021
Map data

The data displayed in the interactive map can be accessed from the Data downloads section below.

Quarterly experimental counts

In the March quarter 2023 there was a:

  • 0.4%, or 11,349 increase in the number of businesses
  • 4.2% entry rate, with 106,534 entries
  • 3.7% exit rate, with 95,185 exits
  • 0.9% (13,781) increase in non-employing businesses and 0.2% (-2,432) decrease in total employing businesses

For more information on the methodological differences between the quarterly and annual counts, see the Technical note.

Industry subdivision

In the March quarter 2023, the subdivisions with the largest quarterly decrease in businesses were:

  • Other Store-Based Retailing (- 0.3% or -259 businesses)
  • Agriculture (-0.1% or -145 businesses)

The subdivisions with the largest quarterly increase in businesses were:

  • Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services (5.9% or +2,727 businesses)
  • Social Assistance Services (2.9% or +834 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, see the Methodology.

In the March 2023 quarter, in seasonally adjusted terms, there was a:

  • 0.2%, or 4,376, increase in the number of businesses
  • 4.6% entry rate, with 118,092 entries
  • 4.4% exit rate, with 113,597 exits

Australian Business Register (ABR) initiated cancellations substantially increased in the September and December quarters 2022 from 2020 or 2021 (in line with pre-COVID levels in 2019). The focus of bulk cancellations continues to be businesses that have recently lodged but not reported business activity (and there is no other data indicating their entitlement to an ABN). Increases in cancellations, as well as long term non-remitters, can be seen in the seasonally adjusted data.

Count of businesses, entries and exits, December 2022 and March 2023, Australia
Dec-22Change (%)Mar-23Change (%)
Total Businesses2,541,461-1.32,552,8100.4
Business Entries116,472-12.2106,534-8.5
Business Exits150,28218.195,185-36.7
Seasonally Adjusted
Total Businesses2,557,74402,562,1200.2
Business Entries119,8791.7118,092-1.5
Business Exits114,324-7.3113,597-0.6

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

Data downloads

Annual data cubes

Data cube 1 tables 1-16 are released in August.

Data cube 1 tables 17-20 and data cubes 2-11 are released in December.

Employment and turnover size ranges have been standardised across all data cubes to improve coherence of the data. For further information, see the Technical note.

Data files

Single touch payroll

The ABS and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have identified additional variability in Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting over the most recent periods.

This issue relates to processes used to combine data from employers who are now reporting through the second phase of STP and employers who are still in transition and reporting through the initial phase. 

This is a technical issue that is limited to the use of STP data for statistical purposes. This issue does not reflect the reporting of STP data to the ATO or how it is used for other purposes.

This issue impacts on the Experimental Point in Time Employment Size Range data in the December 2022 quarter, but has been mitigated by substituting missing STP data with annualised employment estimates (derived from ATO payees data). The derivation of these employment counts is explained in the Methodology publication.

Quarterly data cubes

Quarterly and seasonally adjusted data is released in February, May, August and December.

Data files
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