This paper is posited at the intersection of economic geography, population ecology and entrepreneurship research in investigating environmental factors that determine the emergence of family versus non-family businesses. Research has argued that entrepreneurs are inseparably linked to their family (Dyer and Handler, 1994; Aldrich and Cliff, 2003) but we still know little if and how the emergence of family businesses differ systematically from that of non-family businesses (Brockhaus, 1994; Zahra et al., 2004).