All Americans, no matter what their path to American citizenship looked like, can agree on one thing: We all chase the ever-elusive American dream. We badly want to believe that irrespective of birthplace or socioeconomic class, we can all achieve our own version of success. We want to believe that upward mobility is possible for everyone. In fact, the idea of the American dream drives many from countries all around the world to set out to America in hopes of a better life for themselves and for future generations.
Despite many bemoaning that the American dream is now dead (and I can certainly some people believe that is true) immigrants still view America as a beacon of hope, a place to start over for a better life. For them, the American Dream is still very much alive. 70% of people, across race, political party, gender, and income, also believe that the American dream is still achievable.
First, it is already established that immigrants are more likely to foray into entrepreneurship than native-born people, a fact that remains true even across a sample of 69 countries.
Peter Vandor, of the Harvard Business Journal, theorizes that more risk-tolerant people emigrate and are therefore more likely to participate in other risk-tolerant activities, such as entrepreneurship.
Immigrants continue to be at the forefront of business and entrepreneurship, with 44% of Fortune 500 companies having at least one founder who is an immigrant or the child of immigrants, according to stats provided by the New American Economy, founded by Michael Bloomberg.
Furthermore, upward mobility exists! A study conducted by Princeton found that even the children of immigrants who fall in the poorest quarter of the U.S. end up becoming middle class. 80% of America’s millionaires, regardless of if they were foreign or U.S. born, are self-made. These stats aren’t just for large businesses either. As of 2019, immigrant business owners accounted for 21.7% of all small business owners in the U.S. It’s not just the business owners that benefit, either. A recent study found that workers employed by immigrant-owned businesses earn 4.1% more than workers employed by non-immigrant-owned businesses.
Despite the challenges, immigrants continue to dominate American entrepreneurship and create their own opportunities, and it is the American economy that continues to benefit from this hard work.
The bottom line? America contains 20% of the world’s immigrants, according to Pew Research Center, and America remains the number one destination for immigrants with big dreams. The real bottom line? The American dream is for everyone.