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Study: Immigrant-Owned Small Businesses Growing

Posted: Jun 15, 2012


A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) finds that immigrant-owned small businesses make up 18 percent of all small businesses in the United States, which is higher than the immigrant share of the population (13 percent) or labor force (16 percent). Using data from the Survey of Business Owners and the American Community Survey, the report highlights the growing role immigrants play as small business owners. Among the findings are:

Immigrant-owned small businesses employed more than 4.7 million people and had $776 billion in receipts in 2007, the last year for which data was available. Between 1990 and 2010, immigrants accounted for 30 percent of the total increase in the number of small business owners in the United States.

The small businesses most commonly owned by immigrants are restaurants, physician’s offices, real estate firms, grocery stores, and truck transportation services. Immigrants comprise 65 percent of taxi service owners, 54 percent of dry cleaning and laundry service owners, 53 percent of gas station owners, and 49 percent of grocery store owners.

Immigrants from Mexico account for 12 percent of immigrant small business owners, followed by immigrants from India, Korea, Cuba, China, and Vietnam. Immigrants from the Middle East, Asia, and Southern Europe have the highest rates of small business ownership. Immigrants who have been in the United States for more than 10 years are more than twice as likely to be small business owners as immigrants who have been in the country for 10 years or less.

Twenty-nine percent of immigrant small business owners are women. In comparison, 28 percent of U.S.-born small business owners are women.



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