The foundation’s research also shows immigrant-owned businesses are more likely to locate in ethnically diverse metro areas that have high foreign-born populations like South Florida.
The report lists the top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas by their share of high-tech entrepreneurs, immigrant and U.S. born, with New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas accounting for about a third of all immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs in the country in 2011. Yet, Miami and Fort Lauderdale have the No. 1 and No. 3 highest rates of foreign born high-tech entrepreneurs -- 37.4 and 25.8 per 10,000 workers respectively, compared to, for example, tech hubs like San Francisco, 21.5, New York, 15.8 and Austin, 9.8, the report shows. San Jose is No. 2 with 33.8 per 10,000, yet San Jose had a much higher rate than Miami in 2000.
Perhaps more significantly, the Miami and Fort Lauderdale metro areas were No. 1 and No. 2 for growth rates of immigrant tech entrepreneurs between 2000 and 2011. Other metros registering substantial growth include Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Washington, D.C. The metros of Silicon Valley – San Francisco and San Jose – did not experience substantial growth.
It is important to note that this study, “Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” is based on data from the American Community Survey and looks at 2000-2011 -- just before the most recent push to grow tech entrepreneurship in South Florida began.
Data is always a bit behind but still, that’s a pretty big change, said Gary Painter from the University of Southern California, one of the study’s authors. “There is already a high rate of immigrant high tech workers in your area, and it has had the fastest growth over the past decade. Our model shows … high tech immigrants like to be near other high tech workers and they like to be near other immigrants so Miami is in a really strong position to capitalize on this trend.”
Other key findings in the study:
* Eighty percent of immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs operate in the largest 25 metropolitan areas, compared with 57 percent of their U.S.-born counterparts.
* Nationally, immigrants comprised 20 percent of the high-tech work force and 17.3 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs between 2007 and 2011, representing an increase of 13.7 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, from 2000.
* Nationally, between 2000 and 2011, the number of self-employed immigrants in high-tech industries increased by 64 percent, compared with 22.6 percent for U.S.-born.
* Since the beginning of the new century, immigrants from Colombia, China, India, Korea and Vietnam expanded the number of the self-employed in high-tech industries. On the other hand, the number of high-tech entrepreneurs from Iran, England, Mexico, Germany and Cuba stagnated.
“Because immigrants are far more likely to start businesses – particularly high-tech companies – than are the native-born, their importance in the U.S. economy is increasing,” said Dane Stangler, vice president of Research & Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “As America seeks to grow more high-tech businesses, this research provides strategies and policy implications for cities and states that want to attract highly skilled immigrant entrepreneurs.”