TRAVERSE CITY — Northwest Lower Michigan is a popular region to own a small business, according to a study released by SmartAsset, a web-based provider of personal financial advice.

“Best Places for Small Business Owners” crunched data from counties across the nation.

In Michigan, Leelanau County ranked No. 1. Nationally, Leelanau County ranked No. 415.

Charlevoix County ranked No. 2 in Michigan (No. 720 nationally), followed by Emmet at No. 3 in Michigan, Grand Traverse, Oakland, Oscoda, Ottawa, Benzie, Antrim and Cass at No. 10. Kalkaska County ranked No. 40 among Michigan’s 83 counties.

Jackson County was ranked at No. 83 in Michigan, neighboring Calhoun County at No. 81, and the Upper Peninsula’s Baraga County at No. 82.

According the SmartAsset study, Michigan’s business tax rate is higher than some states, which can make it less attractive to small business owners.

The national study considered three factors to measure attractiveness to small business owners: the percentage of people in a county with small business income; the proportion of that income to overall income; and the amount of taxes paid by small business owners.

Across Michigan counties, the study showed nearly identical income tax rates, so that factor held little meaning when comparing counties within the state.

The remaining two factors mainly show how many small businesses currently are operating in each county. There could be many reasons small businesses cluster where they do. When considering counties within Michigan, this study basically weighs where many small businesses already exist and how much income they generate — it doesn’t indicate why they are located there.

The study’s third factor, income tax, did come into major play when comparing between the 50 states.

Throckmorton County in Texas ranked No. 1 nationally. Second was Petersburg Census Area, Alaska; followed by San Juan County, Washington; Gregory County, South Dakota; San Miguel County, Colorado; Haakon County, South Dakota; Kimble County, Texas; Franklin County, Florida; Gaines County, Texas; and Holmes County, Ohio, in the No. 10 spot.

Study results are available at: tinyurl.com/MichSmallBiz.

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