March 24, 2010

THEY COME BECAUSE THEY'RE AMERICAN:

Immigrants key to economy's revival (JOEL KOTKIN, 3/24/10, Politico)

Overall, some of the country’s highest rates of entrepreneurship are found among immigrants from the Middle East, Cuba, South Korea and countries of the former Soviet Union. These recent arrivals regularly build new businesses — from street-level bodegas to the most sophisticated technology firms.

Immigrants started one-quarter of all venture-backed public companies between 1990 and 2005. In addition, large U.S. firms are increasingly led by executives with roots in foreign countries, including 14 CEOs of the 2007 Fortune 100.

Nowhere is this contribution more critical than in our major cities, many of which would be economically destitute without these immigrant communities.

In Los Angeles County, for example, the self-employment rate among immigrants is more than 10 percent — almost twice that for the native-born. Nationwide, according to the last economic census, the number of all Latino establishments increased by nearly three times the national average, while those owned by all Asians expanded by two times.

Immigrant contributions extend across a range of activities, from retail and food to culture. Asian immigrants, like the Italians and Jews before them, have concentrated in specific niche markets and then expanded beyond historic ghettos.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 24, 2010 5:41 AM
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