How Immigrant-Owned Businesses Drive the U.S. Economy

Filed in American Culture by on November 21, 2014 0 Comments

Once the Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared, many Americans will turn to their Christmas shopping lists and the “Black Friday” sales that seem to kick off the holiday shopping season. Retail stores will hold big sales and specials as millions of Americans flood shopping centers on the Friday after Thanksgiving—and in some cases, Thanksgiving night—to snatch the latest products at discounted rates.

The term “Black Friday” originates from when there is a financial gain made by companies make from this day through the end of the year. Typically, many companies do not make a profit in the weeks prior to Black Friday. But when Black Friday hits, they will quickly make up for lost profit and will be “in the black.” Last year alone, Americans spent $12.3 billion in stores and nearly another $2 billion at online retailers like between Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

In recent years, the shopping season has extended to include days like Small Business Saturday, which urges consumers to shop at local businesses, and Cyber Monday, where online retailers like and offer incentives for customers to purchase their products. It’s not only about purchasing—Americans will also be giving back to their communities. #GivingTuesday occurs four days after Black Friday. On this day, Americans will give back to charities and nonprofits that are promoting philanthropic initiatives.

But before the mall parking lots fill up on Black Friday, it’s important to remember the contributions immigrants have brought and continue to bring to the stores we shop at and the U.S. economy as a whole.

Here are three facts that show how immigrants shape the U.S. economy:

  • 40 percent of the largest U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or their children, including Apple, Google and McDonalds.
  • Immigrants are more likely than native-born Americans to start their own businesses. According to a report from the Kauffman Foundation, in 2010 “immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses each month than were the native-born …”
  • Immigrants fuel technological and scientific innovation. According to a report from the Brookings Institution, “among people with advanced degrees, immigrants are three times more likely to file patents than U.S.-born citizens. Such investments in new businesses and in research may provide spillover benefits to U.S.-born workers by enhancing job creation and by increasing innovation among their U.S.-born peers.”

Exchange visitors can easily be caught up in the commercial frenzy of Black Friday. Be aware that not every “deal” is a deal. Before going out to join the shopping crowds, spend a bit of time on-line making sure you know what reasonable prices are for items you may want to buy. Some merchants will raise their prices shortly before Thanksgiving in order to announce Black Friday “discounts.” On a more positive note, other merchants will offer to donate part of their proceeds to charity as a way of giving back to the community.  Black Friday offers a peek at the most positive and negative aspects of commercial behavior in the United States.