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Press Releases

January 3, 2003

Consumer Affairs releases results of new licensing survey, offers insight of New York City's small business owners and managers 

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today released the results of a new licensing survey, offering a quick glimpse into the profiles of the City's small business owners and managers. The survey was conducted by DCA's customer service representatives who handle approximately 100,000 license applications and renewals annually in 100 categories of small businesses in New York City, including permits for the Department of Health.

Who are the people applying for licenses? Approximately 450 individuals responded to the survey during a typical week in early fall and showed, most notably, that DCA is a melting pot for new immigrants looking to start or continue operating a business in New York City. The survey also showed that the majority of respondents operate businesses in Brooklyn. Some other highlights include:

  • The majority (68%) of respondents were born outside the United States.
  • The majority (43%) of respondents have household incomes less than $25,000.
  • The majority (42%) of respondents' businesses were located in Brooklyn; Manhattan was second at 27%; and Queens was third at 17%.
  • The majority (53%) of the respondents came to DCA to apply for new licenses.
  • Survey respondents represented 30 different languages including, but not limited to, Creole, Thai, and Urdu.
  • Respondents speaking Chinese were the third largest group to respond to the survey, followed by English and Spanish.
  • The majority (30%) of respondents were high school graduates. 28% had college degrees.

DCA enforces the consumer protection laws and other related laws at thousands of businesses throughout New York City. Fostering a marketplace where consumers are protected and businesses can thrive, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories in New York City. Through free community seminars, licensing forums, and other informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses alike about their rights and responsibilities. DCA has coordinated a broad coalition of government agencies, corporations, and community organizations to increase the number of qualifying New Yorkers who file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To file a complaint or obtain more information, contact the DCA hotline at (212) 487-4444 or online at