Nearly 6 Million Workers Employed at Immigrant-Owned Businesses, New Report Finds


Nearly 6 Million Workers Employed at Immigrant-Owned Businesses, New Report Finds

40.2 Percent of 2016 Fortune 500 Firms Founded by Immigrants or Their Children

New York, NYNew American Economy released a report detailing the outsized role immigrants play as entrepreneurs in the U.S. economy. In 2014, America’s foreign-born population owned close to three million businesses, generating over $65 billion in business income.

The report draws on the American Community Survey, the Survey of Small Business Owners, and other publicly available data sources to shed light on the real and meaningful role immigrants have played founding American companies in recent years. It reveals that in 2014, 19.1 percent of entrepreneurs in the United States hailed from the Middle East and North Africa, 11.1 percent were foreign-born Hispanics, and 10.6 percent were Asian immigrants. This was while the national rate of entrepreneurship among working Americans was 9.5 percent.

“Our system certainly doesn’t make it easy for immigrant entrepreneurs—but still, immigrants work hard, they start businesses, and they create jobs for American workers,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “The sooner we fix our broken immigration system, the sooner that even more foreign-born talent can build their companies here and help grow the U.S. economy.”

Reason for Reform: Entrepreneurship finds:

  • The United States is currently home to more than 2.9 million foreign-born entrepreneurs, a group whose companies generated $65.5 billion in business income in 2014 alone. That year, immigrants made up 20.6 percent of all entrepreneurs in the country, despite representing 13.2 percent of the U.S. population overall.
  • Businesses owned by immigrants employed more than 5.9 million workers in 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available. In some states, the employment impact of immigrants was particularly pronounced: Almost 1.5 million California residents had jobs at immigrant owned firms in 2007, as did more than half a million Floridians. In 16 states—including Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas—more than 100,000 people were employed at companies with immigrant owners.
  • In 2016, 40.2 percent of firms on the Fortune 500 list had at least one founder who either immigrated to the United States or was the child of immigrants. Those firms generated more than $4.8 trillion in revenue in 2014 and employed 18.9 million people globally.
  • In 2014, 19.1 percent of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were entrepreneurs. Similarly, 11.1 percent of foreign-born Hispanics were self-employed, as were 10.6 percent of Asian immigrants. The national rate of entrepreneurship among working Americans was 9.5 percent that year.

Despite their contributions to the American economy, the U.S. Government has not done enough to welcome and encourage foreign-born entrepreneurs. The White House’s recent proposed rule to allow some immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses in America is an important and much needed step in the right direction. The public has until October 17, 2016 to submit a comment on the rule. The report maintains that the United States needs legislative reform that creates a sensible and efficient path for job creators who want to be in the U.S.

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. NAE members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. NAE members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations.

Sarah Doolin Roy
New American Economy

About Us

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…