Immigrant Small Business Ownership is a Cornerstone of New Jersey's Economy

Erika Nava
Date of Publication: 
March, 2019
Source Organization: 

In this report, the author discusses the economic impact and demographic makeup of immigrant-owned small businesses in New Jersey. While immigrants constitute slightly more than one-fifth (22 percent) of New Jersey’s population, they make up almost half (47 percent) of its Main Street business owners. The article also discusses the racial, ethnic and educational composition of immigrant and U.S.-born business owners in New Jersey, as well as the factors that account for high levels of entrepreneurial activity among the state’s immigrant population. The author suggests that immigrant businesses serve as important “training” grounds for socialization and integration into the mainstream U.S. economy. She also speculates that business ownership provides a way of navigating around conditions that produce disadvantage in the regular labor market, e.g., limited English proficiency. The author recommends spotlighting and honoring immigrants’ contributions, developing initiatives that foster the growth and success of immigrant businesses, and creating measures that cultivate feelings of safety in immigrant communities. (Julio Montanez for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute) 

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Nava, E. (2019). Immigrant Small Business Ownership is a Cornerstone of New Jersey's Economy. New Jersey Policy Perspective. Retrieved from