Female Immigrants Twice as Likely to Own Small Businesses

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Many of us are familiar with the notion of the “American Dream.”

And while the American Dream may mean different things to each of us—fitting with our personal aspirations—one thing is for sure: The American Dream suggests that certain opportunities are available here (and only here), in America.

A recent study from the Fiscal Policy Institute, titled “Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy,” gives us an idea of what the American Dream looks like today–and it’s great for women.

In this report, the FPI evaluates the state of immigrant labor and small business ownership in the United States based on U.S. Census data, and takes the correlation between immigrant labor and small business ownership to never-before-seen statistical heights. As the FPI explains, 18% of small business owners in the U.S. are currently immigrants.

The study is wide in scale, providing insight into immigrant small business ownership across various business sectors, races, ethnicities and countries of immigrant origin. It’s revolutionary, too. As Reuters says, it is, “the first survey to take a macro look at the state of small business ownership among immigrants across the country.”

While the statistics available for review are seemingly limitless, there are a few figures that grab our attention:

  • Small business-owning immigrants in the restaurant and food services industry account for 37% of industry owners nationwide.
  • Small business-owning immigrants make, on average, 50% more than their non-business owning counterparts.
  • Mexican, Indian and Korean immigrants account for a quarter of all immigrant business owners.

And that’s not all. The report breaks down small business ownership by gender, and the results are surprising.

Nearly 30% of all immigrant business owners are women, and female immigrants are two times more likely to be small business owners than their U.S. native counterparts. There are 250,000 female business-owning immigrants–that’s a whole lot of women at the forefront of small businesses.

And as if the results from the report aren’t impressive enough, they are becoming increasingly more symbolic in light of the politics surrounding U.S. immigration policy. With the 2012 presidential election looming, the status of immigrants in the U.S. is emerging as a source of great debate among candidates.

The FPI’s report is sure to play a major role in this debate, so stay tuned as November nears.