Monday, April 04, 2011

Diversity Works

That is the conclusion of this article from New Geography about the economic and entrepreneurial benefits of a diverse population, and in the ranking of the cities favoring minority entrepreneurism; Sacramento comes in 29th of 52.

An excerpt.

“As the American economy struggles to recover, its greatest advantage lies with its diverse population. The U.S.’ major European competitors — Germany, Scandinavia, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Italy — have admittedly failed at integrating racial outsiders. Its primary Asian rivals, with the exception of Singapore, are almost genetically resistant to permanent migration from those outside the dominant ethnic strain.

“In contrast, America’s destiny is tied to minorities, who already constitute a third of the nation’s population and who will account for roughly half of the population by 2050. Younger and more heavily represented in the labor force, minorities are poised to become the primary source of entrepreneurial growth.

“The clear advantage with minorities, particularly immigrant minorities, lies in their own self-selection. Risk-takers by the very act of emigration, they are more likely to start small firms than other Americans. In fact, a recent Kauffman Foundation study found that immigrants were unique in boosting their entrepreneurial activities since the onset of the recession. Overall the share of immigrants among new entrepreneurs has expanded from 13.4% in 1996 to nearly 30% this year.

“Forbes asked demographer Wendell Cox (, researcher Erika Ozuna and me to examine the immigrant entrepreneurial phenomena among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas. The results (below) turned out to be in many ways surprising, and almost counter-intuitive.

“Usually we think of immigrant entrepreneurs as clustering in crowded city communities or high-tech places like Silicon Valley. But based on rates of self-employment, housing affordability, income growth and migration, immigrant entrepreneurs tend to prefer sprawling, heavily suburbanized regions, many of them clustered in the South and Southwest.

“The best U.S. city for minority entrepreneurs on our list, Atlanta, has long been a haven for black entrepreneurs. But, recently, its Latino and Asian populations have exploded, with exceptionally high rates of self-employment. In the past decade, the Atlanta region’s Asian population surged 74%, while its Latino population grew by 101%. The overall foreign-born population rose by roughly 300,000.”