Facts & Figures

  • Immigrants nationwide make up 28 percent of Main Street business owners.

  • Immigrants own 53 percent of grocery stores, 38 percent of restaurants, 58 percent of dry cleaners, 61 percent of gas stations, 45 percent of nail salons, 43 percent of liquor stores and 32 percent of both jewelry and clothing stores in the U.S.
  • From 2000-2013, immigrants accounted for 48 percent of the overall growth of business ownership in the nation.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, the total number of U.S.-born Main Street business owners declined by 30,000, while immigrant Main Street business owners increased by 90,000.
Source: Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow – Report by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), 2015.


  • More than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in 2010 were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.
  • Immigrants were almost twice as likely to start businesses in 2012 as native-born Americans.
  • About 27.1 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2012 were immigrants, which is up from 13.7 percentin 1996.
  • Between 2006 and 2012, about one-quarter of the engineering and technology companies started in the United States had at least one key founder who was an immigrant.
  • Immigrant founded engineering and technology firms employed approximately 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales in 2012.
  • Twenty-four of the top 50 venture-backed companies in America in 2011 had at least one foreign- born founder.
 Source: Kaufmann Foundation, 2014


  • From 2006 to 2010, there were 45,696 new immigrant business owners in Washington.
  • In 2010, 15 percent of all business owners in Washington were foreign-born.
  • In 2010, new immigrant business owners had a total net business income of $2.4 billion, which is 13.1 percent of all net business income in the state.
  • In 2010, the foreign-born share of business owners was 19 percent in the Seattle metropolitan area.
  • In the case of Seattle, the immigrant business ownership rate was higher than the foreign-born share of the total population.
Source: Immigration Policy Center, 2013