US startup economy fueled by immigrant entrepreneurs

US flagLate last week a new study revealed that the startup economy in the United States is being driven by immigrants, with a particular boom in new businesses started by Latino immigrant entrepreneurs. The non-profit Kauffman Foundation’s Kauffman Index of Startup Activity 2015 shows just how valuable immigrant entrepreneurs are to the country’s startup economy, particularly those from the Latino community.

Immigrants tend to be self employed and/or start new businesses at twice the rate of those born in the United States, researchers found. Immigrants account for just 12.9% of the country’s population, 2012 US Census data shows, but 28.5% of startups last year were driven by immigrants. This was an increase from 25.9% the year before and more than twice the figure recorded 19 years ago in 1996.

The share of startup businesses founded by Latinos in 2014 increased to 22.1% from 20.4% in 2013, which is again over twice that recorded in the mid 1990s. Latinos now make up 17.1% of the population of the United States, as opposed to just over 10% 19 years ago.

“This rebound in entrepreneurial activity lines up with the strength we’ve seen in other economic indicators, and should generate hope for further economic expansion,” says the Kauffman Foundation’s research and policy executive vice-president Dane Stangler. “But it’s important to view this short-term uptick in context of the bigger picture – we are still in a long-term decline of activity, which affects job creation, innovation and economic growth.”