Weighing Down the Bootstraps: The Heavy Burden of Occupational Licensing on Immigrant Entrepreneurs

By Stephen Slivinski

Immigrants to the United States make up an average of 14% of the population yet they make up 22% of all entrepreneurs. As a result, the immigrant entrepreneurship rate — the number of entrepreneurs as a share of the population — tends to be higher than the native- born entrepreneurship rate. While the average rate of native self-employed equaled 240 entrepreneurs per 100,000 people (or 0.24%), the average rate of immigrant entrepreneurs equaled 420 per 100,000 people (0.42%).

Immigrant entrepreneurs tend to be younger than native-born entrepreneurs: 58% of native entrepreneurs are between the ages of 20 and 49 but 72% of immigrant entrepre- neurs are under the age of 49. The immigrant entrepreneurs studied in this report tend to be predominantly Hispanic/Latino, and this group of immigrant entrepreneurs has some of the highest observed rates of entrepreneurship in the data.

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