Report: Immigrant-owned small businesses generate $1B in annual NJ economic activity.


Byline: Jessica Perry

A new report from New Jersey Policy Perspective analyzing state level data finds New Jersey immigrants are far more likely to start businesses especially those on Main Streets across the state than their native-born peers.

The report, Immigrant Small Business Ownership is a Cornerstone of New Jersey's Economy, shows that New Jersey's economy benefits in a big way from immigrants and the businesses they create. In fact, data found that these small businesses like grocery stores, hair salons and restaurants generate approximately $1 billion in economic activity every year and are critical to downtowns and local economies across New Jersey and its 565 unique municipalities.

NJPP findings also show that immigrants account for 47 percent of the Garden State's Main Street business owners despite making up just 22 percent of the total population.

The report states that the immigrant population in the Garden State has doubled since 1990, and the shares of immigrants in the labor force and immigrant business owners have grown along with it. In 2016, immigrants made up 31 percent of New Jersey's business owners and 28 percent of the labor force, up from 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in 1990.

And while a majority of New Jersey's Main Street businesses 53 percent are owned by individuals born in the United States, eight out of 10 dry cleaners and seven out of 10 grocery stores and bodegas are owned by immigrants.

Further, immigrant entrepreneurs own 50 percent or more of the state's household maintenance businesses, transportation services, nail salons, computer service centers, restaurants and clothing stores.

New Jersey's immigrant entrepreneurs are diverse in the types of businesses they own and in regard to their race and ethnicity. The state has the third highest share of immigrants and arguably the most ethnically diverse...

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