Immigrants in the US make a key contribution to US economic and business success. Over the past thirty years, US counties that received high levels of immigrants experienced impressive growth — local companies filed more patents and experienced higher wages and increased job creation compared to other areas, USA Today reports.
Tech innovation and small businesses, in particular, are two areas in which immigrants make significant contributions.
Immigrants Drive Tech Innovation
America’s position as a tech heavyweight is largely thanks to immigrants. As many as 64% of engineers in Silicon Valley — the world’s global center for technology innovation — are foreign-born. Moreover, over 50% of startup unicorns in the US are founded by at least one immigrant.
Additionally, almost half of the country’s workforce with engineering or science doctorates (including 60% of employees in mathematics and computer sciences) are also immigrants. Asian immigrants, in particular, play an especially important role in tech innovation.
Researchers William Kerr and Sari Pekkala Kerr recently authored a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research: it found Indian and Chinese inventors accounted for over 22% of US patents filed in 2018, compared to under 3% in 1975.
Immigrants often come to the US on employment-based visas, immigration attorney Austin TX explains. Qualified, eligible foreign workers looking to come to the US temporarily for a specific employment purpose are often able to obtain an employment-based non-immigrant visa through their employer.
Employers can then later potentially sponsor permanent immigrant visas for chosen employees.
Small Business Success
It’s not just highly-skilled immigrants that benefit America’s economy; immigrants of all skill levels play an important role. In the US, small businesses account for 99.7% of all employer firms, in turn creating jobs and stimulating local economic growth.
As such, the fact that immigrants own more than one in five small businesses is of great significance. In fact, immigrants in the US are over 20% more likely to start a small business than non-immigrants. By starting small businesses, immigrants contribute to economic growth and help create thriving communities.
In particular, immigrants own 53% of all grocery stores, 38% of all restaurants, over 60% of all gas stations, 58% of all dry cleaners, and 45% of all nail salons — businesses that provide vitality and sustenance to local communities.
Immigrants play a key role in US economic and business growth. By contributing greatly to tech innovation and small business, immigrants help ensure shared prosperity for all.