An Economy of Immigrants

Next American City reports on a recent conference that emphasized the role of immigrants in fueling economic growth.
December 27, 2008, 7am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Consider the statistics: Immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely to start businesses than native-born Americans. The evidence is all over American cities. In Los Angeles, a 2005 report counted immigrants as the creators of at least 22 of the city's 100 fastest growing companies. In Boston, immigrants have fueled the resurgence of several neighborhoods, including Fields Corner, East Boston and Allston Village.

Two trends that point to immigrants playing an even more critical role in the economy of American cities in the future are their continued population growth and the ongoing move by large companies to outsource labor to distant shores. By offering jobs here in the states, immigrant entrepreneurs help to counter the job losses of outsourcing. Even during economic downturns, immigrants tend to continue to start businesses and create jobs.

But despite their crucial role in economic growth, immigrants remain a vastly ignored part of city economies and disconnected from local economic development planning, says CUF [The Center for an Urban Future].

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Published on Sunday, December 21, 2008 in Next American City
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