A survey of 28,000 companies found that immigrants were key founders in more than a quarter of all the engineering and technology companies set up in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005.The new research–led by Vivek Wadhwa, an executive-in-residence at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering–and his team had counted $52 billion in annual sales by these immigrant-founded companies. Total employment at those companies: roughly 450,000.
The researchers say the “startling statistics” they have put together show that the U.S. economy depends upon the high rates of entrepreneurship and education among immigrants to “maintain its global edge.”
According to the study, 96% of the immigrant founders held graduate or postgraduate degrees, with 47% holding master’s degrees and 27% having Ph.D.s.The largest concentrations outside of that were in business, accounting and finance.The Research underscores the point that a significant portion of immigrants in the U.S. are highly educated, fueling a tech boom, leading innovation and creating jobs. The report cites U.S. Census data to say that immigrants from India, the U.K., China, Taiwan, Japan and Germany are better educated than native U.S. citizens.
The results of the study are especially significant for Indian immigrants, according to Wadhwa. “Indians are among the best educated of all immigrant groups,” he says, adding that Indians founded more engineering and technology companies in the U.S. in the decade up to 2005 than the next four groups combined–those from the U.K., China, Taiwan and Japan. They accounted for 26% of all start-ups, about 117,000 jobs and $14 billion in revenue in 2005.