How Foreign-Born Entrepreneurs Fuel the U.S. Economy: By the Numbers
For many, entrepreneurship can be the quickest path to the American Dream: So it may not be surprising to learn that immigrants have significantly higher business formation and ownership rates than non-immigrants. A comprehensive study of the 2007 U.S. Survey of Business Owners reveals how immigrant entrepreneurs benefit (and benefit from) the U.S. economy.
The income and jobs immigrant-owned businesses generate have an undeniably positive impact on the U.S. economy. In 2010, immigrant-owned businesses employed one in every 10 U.S. workers and generated more than $775 billion in revenue.
Immigrants own a much higher proportion of businesses than non-immigrants. According to an analysis of Small Business Administration data, immigrants are 10 percent more likely to own a business than a non-immigrant.
In fact, around 1 in every 10 immigrant worker owns a business, and, each month, around 62 of every 10,000 immigrants launches a new business. That’s double the rate of the non-immigrant population.
Over the last 15 years, immigrants increased their business formation rate by more than 50 percent—an even more commendable accomplishment since, during the same period, non-immigrants’ business formation rate dropped by 10 percent.
While immigrant-owned businesses are slightly more likely than non-immigrant owned businesses to hire employees, they tend to hire fewer employees on average. Some entrepreneurs may rely on relatives or family friends to perform tasks that aren’t time-intensive enough to justify a dedicated, full-time employee.
But the power of immigrants isn’t limited to small mom-and-pop shops. It continues into the C-Suite: 21 percent of Inc. 500 CEOs were born outside the U.S. And a study in 2010 found that more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant.
With the historic nationwide increase in immigrant-run businesses over the past decade, this significant impact will likely continue, even in a turbulent political environment.
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