June 2, 2012
Right now, the economy and unemployment rank at the top of Americans’ list of worries for the country. And, according to the German Marshall Fund, a nonpartisan public policy institute based in Washington, D.C., a majority of Americans see immigration as more of a problem than an opportunity. Close to 60 percent of Americans believe immigrants take jobs from native workers.
According to Portnoy and her team of researchers, though, immigrants are more likely than native citizens to start their own businesses. Five percent of naturalized citizens are self-employed compared to just 3.7 percent of native-born Americans. In Massachusetts, ILC researchers found more than a quarter of all biotech companies had at least one immigrant founder. In Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, immigrants started 40 percent of all transportation companies.
“That’s miraculous,” Portnoy said. “Immigrants aren’t 40 percent of the population.”