Monday , December 17, 2018

Immigration: A Foundation That Helps the U.S. Prosper

Immigration: A Foundation That Helps the U.S. Prosper

Immigration Helps Build and Strengthen our Economy

America is a nation built by immigrants and continues to support the largest flow of immigration around the world. One in five international migrants lives in the U.S. In 2015, 46,630,000 people living in the U.S. were born in other countries, almost 15 percent. Immigrant population growth alone has accounted for 29% of U.S. population growth since 2000. The chart below shows the number and share of immigration growth relative to the whole population.



Immigrants as a Share of U.S. Population

Immigrants as a Share of U.S. Population      Source:

Here are some important contributions by the generations of immigrants who have helped us build our economy, and made America the economic engine of the world.

Immigrants start businesses. According to the Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the United States than non-immigrants, and 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants.

Immigrant-owned businesses create jobs for American workers. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, small businesses owned by immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007, and according to the latest estimates, these small businesses generated more than $776 billion annually.

Immigrants are also more likely to create their own jobs. According the U.S. Department of Labor, 7.5 percent of the foreign born are self-employed compared to 6.6 percent among the native-born.

Immigrants develop cutting-edge technologies and companies. According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started 25 percent of public U.S. companies that were backed by venture capital investors. This list includes Google, eBay, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, and Intel.

Immigrants are our engineers, scientists, and innovators. According to the Census Bureau, despite making up only 16 percent of the resident population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, immigrants represent 33 percent of engineers, 27 percent of mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists, and 24 percent of physical scientists. Additionally, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy, in 2011, foreign-born inventors were credited with contributing to more than 75 percent of patents issued to the top 10 patent-producing universities.


There is no doubt that immigration makes America stronger and more prosperous. And immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century. No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals. Here are some illustrations that provide perspective to the global flows of people.

This map shows net migration (inflows minus outflows) by country of origin and country of residence between 2010 and 2015.

Mapping Immigration Flows: Country-to-Country Net Migration (2010-2015)

Mapping Immigration Flows
Mapping Immigration Flows


In an earlier newsletter, we showed immigration movement over the last two centuries. You might be curious to visualize the country-to-country net migration over just a five-year period from 2010 to 2015. Here is a Metrocosm visualization.

Top 10 Immigrant Countries

Top 10 Immigrant Countries
Top 10 Immigrant Countries

The 10 countries with greatest number of foreign-born residents:

  1. Spain 6.5 million immigrants (13.8% of pop)
  2. Australia 6.5 million immigrants (27.7%)
  3. Canada 7.3 million immigrants (20.7%)
  4. France 7.4 million immigrants (11.6%)
  5. United Kingdom 7.8 million immigrants (12.4%)
  6. United Arab Emirates 7.8 million immigrants (83.7%)
  7. Saudi Arabia 9.1 million immigrants (31.4%)
  8. Germany 9.8 million immigrants (11.9%)
  9. Russia 11 million immigrants (7.7%)
  10. USA 45.7 million immigrants (14.3%)



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