Immigrants Twice as Likely to Start Small Businesses as Native-Born

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
(photo: aetcnmc)

The U.S. should be welcoming, and not demonizing, immigrants if it seeks job and economic growth, based on a new study about entrepreneurialism.


A report from the Partnership for a New American Economy says immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a business. Last year, immigrant entrepreneurs founded 28% of all new U.S. businesses, even though immigrants only make up 12.9% of the population.


The study also found that new business growth among immigrants increased by more than 50% between 1996 and 2011. In contrast, the business-formation rate for the native-born declined by 10% during the same period.


Businesses founded by immigrants are not limited to just mom-and-pop shops. More than 40% of Fortune 500 businesses were started by immigrants or their children.


The Partnership for a New American Economy is a bipartisan organization that includes more than 450 Republican, Democratic, and independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for the country.


According to a separate report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, “firms for which half or more of the owners are immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people, 14 percent of all people employed by small business owners\” and that 18% of small business owners are immigrants.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Open for Business; How Immigrants are Driving Business Creation in the United States (by Robert W. Fairlie, Partnership for a New American Economy) (pdf)

Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy (Fiscal Policy Institute Immigration Research Initiative) (pdf)


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