Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part VII

Vivek Wadhwa, AnnaLee Saxenian and F. Daniel Siciliano
Date of Publication: 
October, 2012
Source Organization: 

Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part VII, finds that high-tech, immigrant-founded startups — a critical source of fuel for the U.S. economy — have stagnated and is on the verge of decline. This has happened despite the fact that immigrant-founded companies employed about 560,000 workers and generated an estimated $63 billion in sales from 2006 to 2012, underscoring the continuing importance of high-skilled immigrants to U.S. economic expansion. 

The study suggests there is an unwelcoming immigration system and environment in the U.S. that has created a "reverse brain drain." The data suggests that, to maintain a dynamic economy, the U.S. needs to embrace immigrant entrepreneurs.  

The study finds that the proportion of immigrant-founded companies nationwide has slipped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. The drop is even more pronounced in Silicon Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded startups declined from 52.4 percent to 43.9 percent. Defying this trend were Indian and Chinese immigrants, whose startup rates have increased. Indian immigrants, in fact, founded more of the engineering and technology firms than immigrants born in the next nine top immigrant-founder countries combined.

Immigrant-founded firms were most likely to be located in traditional immigration gateway states, especially California (31 percent), and were concentrated in the innovation/manufacturing-related services (45 percent) and software (22 percent) industries.  

Download it here or view it online.

Get more information at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


Wadhwa, V., Saxenian, A., Daniel Siciliano, F. (2012). Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part VII. Kansas City, MO: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved from