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Immigrants run 18 percent of small firms

June 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, June 15 (UPI) -- Almost one-fifth of U.S. small business owners are immigrants, a Fiscal Policy Institute study found.

The Institute's Immigration Research Initiative said immigrants make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, 16 percent of the labor force and 18 percent of small business owners.

The study released Friday found "a big change from the picture 20 years ago."

In 1992, immigrants made up 12 percent of small business owners and just 9 percent of the workforce.

In a subsection of small business owners, those with under 100 employees, more than half of the business owners are immigrants.

That group employs 4.7 million people and takes in revenues of $776 billion per year.

"I don't think immigrants are 'super-entrepreneurs,' but I do see that immigrants are playing an important and growing role across the American landscape," said David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute's Immigration Research Initiative and author of the report.

Immigrants are major contributors to high-tech industries, making up 20 percent of the business owners who run computer system design companies.

In general, however, immigrants are "more likely to be found on Main Street than in a technology park," the study found.

Restaurants, grocery stores and laundry businesses are overrepresented by immigrant entrepreneurs, who make up 37 percent, 49 percent and 54 percent of the owners of those three businesses, respectively.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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