US Immigrant Entrepreneurs: latest data and statistics

In the last few years, US migrant entrepreneurs have steadily grown their influence over the US economy to become a leading actor of its current growth. Below are gathered most recent data on immigrant entrepreneurship in the US.

New York

In 2010, there were more than 28% of US businesses owned by immigrant entrepreneurs in the US.  They employed one out of ten american workers and generated 15.8% of the overall US business income.

The top five US immigrant entrepreneur nationalities are Mexican (105,247), Indian (62,526), Korean (56,073), Cuban (35,796) and Chinese (34,181).

Most recent migrant entrepreneurs move to California (676,537), Florida (286,144), New York (261,140), Texas (256,849), and New Jersey (101,251) to start their businesses.

The business they start are mainly related to Restaurants and other food services 76,915 (37%), Offices of physicians 37,072 (26%),  Real estate 34,964 (13%), Grocery stores 23,599 (49%) and truck transportation 21,434 (20%)

Entrepreneurial Migrants

A growing influence in the small business category

This is for the factual numbers and their share of the whole. Now, if one look at the numbers over time, immigrants appear as a growing and leading actor of the US small business economy.

US immigrant owned businesses have come to represent from 12% of all US small businesses in 1996 to 28% of US small business in 2011. It is all more remarkable as the number of US immigrants as grown only from 9% of the overall US population to 12.9% in the same amount of time.

US immigrants are twice more likely to start businesses, and so create jobs and revenue. They have grown their contribution to the national business income by 36% in a decade, when US natives have only increased their contribution by 14% in the same amount of time; and they have grown their tot.

Still the size of the business is lower than their american counterparts: 8 employees on average compared to 12 employees for US native owned businesses; and the average income of these companies are lower too: on average, an immigrant owned business generates $49,779 in income per year, compared to $62,695 for non-immigrant owned businesses.

What data and average don’t tell: 

It is interesting though to spot a few exceptions to this rule by the nationality of the immigrant owner of the business. Indians ($91,237), Iranians ($83,555), Canadians ($83,132), Germans ($66,678) and Italians ($65,004) outperform the national US income average of $62,695 per business.

Finally, this data does not tell about children of immigrants starting companies, which often perform better than their fellow American natives. It is a fact that more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants (90 companies) or by their children (an additional 114 companies). This data is thus limited at measuring the larger impact of immigrants to the US economy, and on the long term.



Immigrants are undoubtely more likely to start businesses and create jobs than native Americans. This positive and growing contribution of immigrants to the US economy should come as no surprise: leaving home and immigrating to another country is an entrepreneurial act in itself.

Is the labyrinthine legal path an immigrant to the US must follow to obtain the proper visa to start a business in the US a good filter to select entrepreneurs out of all immigrant applicants, or is it an obstacle preventing the creation of more immigrant led US businesses? The Obama administration is currently debating a US Startup visa to grant to migrant on an HB1 visa. Entrepreneurs and business leaders in the silicon Valley are pushing for more progressive reforms for not just entrepreneurs but also highly-skilled migrant with tech backgrounds.

Will that help foster more new business creation? This is up to history to tell! Find out more data on immigrant entrepreneurs worldwide with our blog post on UK migrant entrepreneurs or following the Migrant Entrepreneur Statistics tag.

Source of data: US Census Data & the Fiscal Policy Institute.

2 thoughts on “US Immigrant Entrepreneurs: latest data and statistics”

    1. Doubt a lot of them are coming from there 😉 Sorry and thanks for noticing the typo! Corrected to Korean, as the US census data does not provide if they are from south or north.


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