The mountain of evidence on the economic importance of immigrant entrepreneurs just keeps growing. Last year, the Partnership for a New American Economy released a report which tallied the number of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants (and the children of immigrants). Last month, the Fiscal Policy Institute issued a report which quantified the economic value of immigrant small businesses. And now, the Partnership for a New American Economy has put out another report demonstrating the scale of the economic contributions made by immigrant business owners. As the report points out, “in addition to creating jobs, the businesses that immigrants start also create revenue to boost our GDP, exports to alleviate our trade imbalance, taxes to fund our deficit, and new consumption that fuels our economy.”

The numbers in the report speak for themselves:

  • “Immigrant-owned firms now generate more than $775 billion in revenue, $125 billion in payroll, and $100 billion in income, employing one out of every 10 workers along the way.”
  • “Immigrants started 28 percent of all new U.S. businesses in 2011, despite accounting for just 12.9 percent of the U.S. population. Just a decade and a half earlier, in 1996, only 15 percent of new U.S. businesses were founded by immigrants.”
  • “From 2007 to 2011, immigrants founded an outsized share of new businesses in health care and social assistance (28.7 percent), professional and business services (25.4 percent), construction (31.8 percent), retail trade (29.1 percent), leisure and hospitality (23.9 percent), educational services (28.7 percent), ‘other services’ (28.2 percent), and transportation and utilities (29.4 percent).”
  • “The rate at which immigrants start new businesses grew by more than 50 percent between 1996 and 2011. During the same period, the business-formation rate for the native-born declined by 10 percent.”
  • “Immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as the native-born. In 2011, the immigrant business-formation rate was 550 new businesses per month for every 100,000 immigrants, while the native-born rate was only 270 new businesses per month for every 100,000 native-born.”
  • “Over the last decade the income generated by native-owned businesses increased just 14 percent and failed to keep pace with inflation. Income from immigrant-owned businesses, meanwhile, increased by more than 60 percent.”

Not surprisingly, the report concludes that immigrant entrepreneurs will be an integral part of the nation’s economic recovery. Specifically, “any serious plan on job growth must recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs, who in the coming years will play an outsized role across the country and across industries in starting new businesses, creating new jobs, and driving economic growth.” In other words, reasonable immigration policies make good economic sense.

Photo by Simon Grubb