NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Heritage Foundation: Hispanic Entrepreneurs

August 1, 1998

Hispanics in the U.S. have higher than average poverty rates and lower than average educational levels, but statistics show they are amazingly entrepreneurial.

  • From 1987 to 1992, the number of U.S. businesses owned by Hispanics rose 76 percent -- from 490,000 to 863,000 -- at a time when U.S. firms overall were growing by just 26 percent.
  • During the same period, total receipts for Hispanic-owned firms more than doubled -- from $32.8 billion to $76 billion -- while receipts for all U.S. firms increased only 67 percent.
  • The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce estimates Hispanics now own 1.3 million U.S. businesses generating more than $200 billion in annual revenues.
  • Experts report that Hispanic business ownership has already surpassed that of blacks -- a racial group of similar size -- and appears to have done so without as much reliance on government assistance.

Nevertheless, the overall size of the Hispanic business community is not yet as impressive as its recent growth. Although they comprise 11 percent of the U.S. population, Latinos owned only 5 percent of firms in 1992 -- accounting for only 2 percent of gross receipts.

But demographers say it should not be surprising that Hispanics still have some catching up to do. The median age of Latinos is more than a decade younger than America's non-Hispanic whites. And newly arrived immigrants tend to have a limited grasp of English, scant capital and few sophisticated work skills.

Source: Tyce Palmaffy, "El Millonario Next Door," Policy Review, July-August, 1998, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 546-4400.


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