Diaspora and development: Immigrants are economically invigorating

Minn Post
August 20, 2012

Living in Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities, you might have heard and wondered what the term “diaspora” refers to. It’s defined as “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.” Globally, 3 percent of the population (about 150 million people) is made up of migrants, and one out of every 10 people living in a developed country is a migrant…

…Overall, immigrant enclaves help rejuvenate business and job creation through entrepreneurial ventures. A recent study from the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that immigrant entrepreneurs are on the increase with 18 percent of small businesses in the U.S. now owned by immigrants, and an estimated 4.7 million U.S. workers are employed by immigrant-owned firms. A Minnesota 2020 study estimated that the state’s ethnic economy’s purchasing power was around $12 billion.

Minnesota’s African Development Center provides microloans to immigrants, and has had great success helping build a strong business community in areas such as the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis. Hispanic and Hmong markets across the state are reviving once empty main-street storefronts. These findings do much to counter the misconception that immigrants are a drain on local jobs and social services without contributing to economic growth.

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…