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Immigrant Businesses Thriving in California

June 18, 2012
Plain English Version

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According to a report immigrants make up about 13 percent of the national population. They constitute 18% of small business owners.

California is the center of businesses started and owned by immigrants. One-third of small-business owners in the state are immigrants. About 27 percent of the state’s population was born in a foreign country.

Most immigrant small business owners in the greater Los Angeles area are from Mexico, Korea, Iran, Taiwan and Vietnam.


Certain types of businesses in California have large numbers of immigrant owners. Immigrants own many doctor’s offices, real estate firms and truck transportation services. They also own about:

  •  37 percent of the restaurants
  • 49 percent of the grocery stores
  • 54 percent of the laundries and dry cleaners

Many immigrants start businesses after struggling in the job market. New entrepreneurs and existing owners sometimes find it difficult to get credit in this economy.

The study is based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and the American Community Survey.

The Los Angeles Times

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