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Chicago’s immigrant-owned businesses earned $659M in a year

Naturalization ceremony

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 16: Immigrants from 25 countries receive their citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in Daley Plaza on September 16, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Seventy people where awarded their U.S. citizenship during the Citizenship Day ceremony. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 513246259

Chicago’s immigrant-owned businesses generated $659 million in income in 2016, according to a new report.

Immigrants may only have made up 20.7 percent of Chicago’s population, but they represented 36.4 percent of the city’s entrepreneurs in 2016, according to a report from the New American Economy and Chicago Mayor’s Office of New Americans released last month. In fact, immigrants owned over 39,000 businesses and were 67.4 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than people born in the U.S.

Similarly, immigrants made up a larger percentage of the work force than their percentage of Chicago’s 2016 population, according to the report. In all, immigrants represented 24.3 percent of the workforce with 48 percent of workers in the city’s manufacturing industry, 34.9 percent of workers in the city’s accommodation and recreation industry and 26.9 percent people with STEM jobs in Chicago.

“People from all over the world proudly call Chicago home, and this report reinforces what we already know: that immigrants make our city stronger, more vibrant, and more successful,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a news release. “We will continue to welcome anyone who wants to work hard and contribute to the well-being of our diverse communities.”

Chicago’s immigrant population earned $16.9 billion in 2016, the report said. With that income, immigrants paid $4.4 billion in federal taxes and $1.6 billion in state and local taxes that year.

“Immigration has always been critical to the success of America’s great cities, and this new data out of Chicago underscores that fact,” said Rich André, Associate Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy, in a news release. “The numbers show that across Chicago, immigrants are creating jobs, bolstering the tax base, and putting down roots.”