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

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

Immigrants own a higher share of Main Street businesses in New Jersey than in any other state except California. In fact, immigrants account for 47 percent of the Garden State’s Main Street business owners despite making up just 22 percent of the total population. Given the state’s many small towns and its diversity of immigrants — New Jersey has the third highest share of immigrants and arguably the most ethnically diverse immigrant population and workforce in the nation — this is perhaps not surprising, but it is nonetheless important to the state’s economy.

Proactive immigration policies are inextricably linked to the success of immigrant-owned businesses, yet decisions on these issues are often made without input from immigrant business communities. For example, a proposal to expand access to driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status, will allow customers of immigrant-owned businesses to have more purchasing power. This policy would also allow employees of immigrant-owned businesses to leave work on their own terms — not just when the last bus or train departs — and become more financially secure and independent.

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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