Advocacy Report Explains High Entrepreneurship among Immigrants

Release No. 17-01

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s report, Explaining the Emergence of the Immigrant Entrepreneur, by Research Economist Daniel Wilmoth, Ph.D., is the fourth in a series of reports on trends in entrepreneurship by the Office of Advocacy.

This report found an explanation for the growth in the number of immigrant entrepreneurs. Put simply, age is related to self-employment, and immigrants are getting older. In addition, as the native-born Baby Boomers age and retire, the number of self-employed will decline.

The report shows: Only 5.9 percent of immigrants were self-employed in 1994, but that rose to 6.5 percent in 2015. Only 5.7 percent of people who had been born in the United States were self-employed in 2015.

Other findings from the report are:

  • The prevalence of self-employment varies with age.
  • In 1994, the typical immigrant was about 30 years old.
  • In 2015, the typical immigrant was about 40 years old.
  • If the immigrant population had not aged, self-employment among immigrants would have fallen from 5.9 percent in 1994 to 5.7 percent in 2015 instead of rising to 6.5 percent in 2015.

“Today’s report shows that as the immigrant population ages into the prime self-employment years, this will soften the self-employment decline we expect to see as Baby Boomers retire,” said Chief Counsel for Advocacy Darryl L. DePriest.

To see more on the role of immigrant entrepreneurs, view this report on the Office of Advocacy website. Read previous reports in the “Trends in Entrepreneurship” series.

Victoria Carlborg

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