Immigrants Make Big Impact through Small Business

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Local immigrants are giving New York City area small businesses a big boost, a new study of Census Bureau data revealed.

The report, from the Fiscal Policy Institute, found foreign-born residents now own 36 percent of the area’s small businesses. From 1990 to 2010, the number of small businesses owned by immigrants grew to 130,000, an increase of 66 percent.

Los Angeles and Miami were the only other large metropolitan area with a greater proportion of foreign-born proprietors, at 44 percent and 45 percent respectively.

The study also revealed cities with significant immigrant labor forces had greater percentages of overseas-born small business owners.

Despite having a large chunk of the small business sector, only a small number of the city’s immigrant population actually own a small business:  four percent.

The study explains this gap by suggesting immigrants in areas that are well-established — have a smaller number of new arrivals — and are well educated tend to produce more small business owners. For example, smaller immigrant populations in Baltimore and Detroit produced greater proportions of small-scale entrepreneurs.

Throughout the U.S., immigrants are 10 percent more likely to own a small business than their American-born counterparts and 18 percent of all small businesses are run by residents who were born overseas.