Immigrants as Economic Contributors: Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Dan Kosten
Date of Publication: 
July, 2018
Source Organization: 
National Immigration Forum

Immigrants are vital economic contributors to the United States. The National Immigration Forum looks at the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy in a seven-part series of fact sheets. The fourth fact sheet, “Immigrants as Economic Contributions: Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” cites U.S. Census data, The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, The National Foundation for American Policy and existing research that shows high entrepreneurialism among immigrants of all backgrounds and its positive local impact.

Although immigrants make up 13 percent of the U. S. population, almost 30 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2016 were foreign-born. In the same year, the entrepreneurial rate for immigrants was twice that of the U.S.-born, meaning immigrants showed a higher propensity to start a business. Refugees and immigrants without college degrees were more entrepreneurial, with 13 percent of refugees and 11.5 percent of immigrants owning a business compared to nine percent of the U.S.-born. According to the fact sheet, immigrants’ higher rates of entrepreneurship results in job creation and increased revenues for localities, which serves to benefit the economic growth of the entire community. In fact, cities like Detroit have capitalized on this entrepreneurial spirit by creating initiatives designed to attract, retain and advance immigrant entrepreneurs in an attempt to revitalize local economies. (Elizabeth Portaluppi for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Kosten, Dan. (2018). Immigrants as Economic Contributors: Immigrant Entrepreneurs. National Immigration Forum. Retrieved from