Immigrant Business Owners Make Big Impact on U.S. Economy

Immigrant business owners are making a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, according to a new study (pdf) from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

Immigrant business owners constitute 12 percent of the total U.S. workforce and 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners, according to data culled from the 2000 Census.

They are also about 30 percent more likely to start a business than non-immigrants and make up nearly 17 percent of all new business owners in the United States.

The data show that immigrant business owners generate $67 billion of the $577 billion in U.S. business income.

The are having an especially big impact in certain states -- they generate nearly 25 percent, or about $20 billion, of California's business income and nearly one-fifth of business income in Florida, New Jersey and New York.

Immigrants also have delved into many industries -- they own more than a fifth of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation but also contribute significantly to other services, transportation and wholesale and retail trades.

Business owners from Mexico are the largest share of immigrant business owners, but total immigrant business ownership, formation and income come from immigrants around the globe.

Separately, the Office of Advocacy released another new study (pdf) showing that small businesses obtain many more patents per employee than larger firms. Their patents also outperform larger firms on a number of measurements, "suggesting that small firm patents in general are more likely to be technologically important than those of larger firms," according to the SBA office.

By Sharon McLoone |  November 14, 2008; 1:55 PM ET Data Points
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