What is Holding Back Mexican Immigrant Entrepreneurs?


Javier Avalos

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My study focuses on the reasons Mexican immigrant entrepreneurs perform worse than native-born whites when self employed. The Mexican immigrant population is the largest in the United States, making up 29.6 percent of the US population in 2003; however, many Mexican immigrants remain impoverished with 21.6 percent of all Latin Americans living below the poverty line (March 2003 Population Survey. However, ?entrepreneurship may be a route out of poverty? (Light and Rosenstein 1995). Self employment could be an alternative to low skilled wage/salary jobs, allowing immigrants to set higher wages for themselves. Previous research on the outcomes of Hispanic entrepreneurs proves this group has been less successful, in terms of business earnings and survival, than non-Hispanic whites. However this study determined the average years in business for Mexican immigrant entrepreneurs is 8.8 years, and average total profits were $41,418.18. Although these statistics would not be considered exceptionally successful, they are a better alternative to many wage/salary jobs that Mexican immigrants typically take. This study determined factors that would improve the lifespan and total profits of Mexican owned businesses. The longer one is in the United States, the more education he or she has, if the business owner is male, and had a high amount of start-up capital, he or she will have a longer business life expectancy and earn more profits. As a method of improving the U.S. Economy, it is vital to continue educating this group of immigrants about what it takes to run a successful business.


Mary Lopez




Support provided by:Ford Research Endowment

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