Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The recession pushed some immigrants to become entrepreneurs - and now they're helping drive the recovery

It's been documented for some time that immigrants outpace the native-born in the U.S. in terms of starting their own businesses. But the economic downtown has apparently driven even more immigrants to become entrepreneurs, according to a story today from CNN Money.

Immigrants created 28 percent of all new firms last year, per the report. They were also twice as likely to start a business than people born in the United States. It's a shift from the mid-1990s, when immigrants made up about 14 percent of all new entrepreneurs; that figure that has since doubled as immigrants play a key role in the economic recovery. And as the typical immigrant success story tends to go, necessity was the mother of invention for many. From the piece:

What's behind the rise of immigrant entrepreneurs?

For one, immigrants are over-represented in lower wage sectors like construction, which was hard hit during the economic crisis, according to Rob Fairlie, a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

But they need to pay bills like all the rest, and so they have turned to entrepreneurialism, Fairlie said.

"Recession drove low-skilled workers into figuring out what to do," said Fairlie, who authored a recent report for the Kauffman Foundation.

He said the same applies to Hispanics, who are creating new businesses at a faster clip than any other ethnic group. Hispanics make up more than half of the nation's 40 million foreign-born, and they are starting businesses at a rate that exceeds even their population growth.

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