Census Data Shows Economic Contributions Of Immigrants In Houston

Census data shows Houston’s immigrant population is 53 percent more likely to own their own business than the native-born population

New census data shows Houston's immigrant community continues to grow, reaching a total 1.58 million people. That’s 23.3 percent of the Houston metro population, according to most recent numbers from 2016.

The city's foreign-born population has grown 34.4 percent over the last decade.

And as more immigrants arrive, many are also starting up their own businesses.

"There are more than 131,000 immigrant business owners in Houston,” said Jeremy Robbins of the bipartisan group New American Economy, “That's an enormous number."

Robbins said immigrants often open up what he calls "main street businesses".

"It's businesses like the laundromats, like the restaurants, those are the businesses that keep city streets vibrant," said Robbins.

Census data shows Houston's immigrant population is 53 percent more likely to own their own business than the native-born population.


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Houston’s number of immigrant entrepreneurs has increased 66.4 percent from 2006 to 2016, now at 131,532 business owners.

During that same time period, spending power of Houston’s foreign-born has increased by $16.5 billion to $38.2 billion.

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Elizabeth Trovall

Elizabeth Trovall

Immigration Reporter

Elizabeth Trovall is an immigration reporter for Houston Public Media. She joined the News 88.7 team after several years abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she reported on business, energy, politics and culture. Trovall's work has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, Latino...

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