Dr Cathy Yang Liu

Georgia State University, USA

Dr Cathy Yang Liu

Research Title: The Geographic Location and Mobility of Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the US

I have compiled the descriptive statistics for all 283 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States for 2000 and 2011 including number of immigrant entrepreneurs, as well as by their racial/ethnic status, industrial sectors, and educational levels. Comparable statistics for the native-born population are also gathered for comparison. I have also collected a series of independent variables on the metropolitan level for year 2000 to be constructed in time lagged variables, these include MSA’s demographic composition, industrial structure, economic status, among others. All descriptive tables are completed and I’m at the final stage of testing empirical models.

Beyond documenting the scale and growth of immigrant entrepreneurs in each US MSA between 2000 and 2010, I also find innovative ways of decomposing this group in ways that have not been done before. Especially, I look at immigrant entrepreneurs’ skill ratio in each metro and classify them into different types of entrepreneurial cities; I also examine the arrival periods of these immigrant entrepreneurs and how they match the immigrant gateway type of their residing metros. I’m also interested in the industrial concentration and spatial concentration of this group and what metropolitan-level characteristics are associated with their growth over the last decade. While not fully complete, several important findings already emerge from this research. In general, immigrant entrepreneurs make up 12.8% of all entrepreneurs in 2000 and 18.7% of all entrepreneurs in 2011, an increase of 67.6%. Business ownership rate is 11.3% for this group as compared to 9.7% among the native-born population. In contrary to native-born entrepreneurs with vast majority at high school graduate level, one quarter of immigrant entrepreneurs are high school dropouts, the same share for college graduates. Immigrants from Mexico make up the highest share among immigrant entrepreneurs (24.1%), followed by Korea, India, Vietnam, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Canada, and the Philippines. In terms of industrial composition, immigrant entrepreneurs are overly represented in Utilities/Transportation/Warehousing, Trade, as well as Education/Health/Arts services. Immigrant entrepreneurs are more spatially concentrated than their native-born counterparts – the top 25 MSAs are home to over 70% of immigrant entrepreneurs, as compared to less than half of native-born entrepreneurs. The specific skills ratios and arrival periods of immigrant entrepreneurs in each MSA exhibit great variation based on which I am developing a typology of immigrant entrepreneurial cities. 

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