Nearly Half of All Fortune 500 Companies Were Founded By Immigrants or Their Children, Study Finds

A recent American economy study found that immigrants and the children of immigrants founded 45 percent of U.S. Fortune 500 companies, amassing $6.1 trillion in annual revenue last year.

The study, released Thursday from The New American Economy Research Fund, is the latest piece of research tying a significant portion of U.S. economic growth to migrant families. The pro-immigration group's data revealed there were 101 companies founded directly by foreign-born individuals and another 122 were created by the children of immigrants. U.S. Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants employ 13.5 million people and, on average, employ 11 percent more people than the median Fortune 500 corporation founded by a non-immigrant.

Several legacy immigrant-founded companies have become household names throughout much of the country, including Apple and Costco, in addition to more recent creations such as Intuit and Broadcom.

The revenue brought in by these companies on the New American Fortune 500 list is $1.1 trillion more than Japan's entire gross domestic product, $2.1 trillion more than Germany's GDP and nearly three times that of the United Kingdom's entire GDP. As the report notes, the 13.5 million people employed by these companies creates a population that would rank as the fifth largest state in the country.

More than 50 percent of the revenue pulled in by Fortune 500 companies in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington and New York states originated from companies founded by immigrants or their children. In Illinois alone, revenue brought in by immigrant-led Fortune 500 companies equaled 70 percent of the state's overall GDP.

Comparatively, companies founded by non-immigrants such as Walmart, Exxon and CVS amassed $7.6 trillion in 2018.

Broadcom Corp. company's headquarters in Irvine, California, U.S., on Friday, April 12, 2013. Broadcom Corp. designs, develops, and supplies integrated circuits for cable set-top boxes, cable modems, high-speed networking, direct satellite and digital broadcast, and digital subscriber line. Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty

Last year, a Citigroup and Oxford University report found that two-thirds of U.S. GDP expansion since 2011 was "directly attributable to migration." The report reflected that the risks of migration draw in people who are inherently entrepreneurial-minded despite only making up about 14 percent of the overall U.S. population. The study noted immigrants were more than twice as likely to come up with a patented invention or to win an Academy Award or Nobel Prize.

The study does not differentiate between legal and illegal forms of entry into the United States.

"Their presence," wrote co-author Ian Goldin, a professor of globalization and development at Oxford, "usually is associated with higher wages, higher productivity, lower unemployment and higher female workforce participation."

The Citigroup/Oxford study showed that migrants had founded about 40 percent of businesses on the Fortune 500 list and about one-third of all the country's businesses founded since 2011.

As Axios noted Monday, several economics professors including Harvard University's George J. Borjas have detailed how immigrants receive government assistance at higher rates than people born in the U.S., saying immigration creates a $50 billion "fiscal hole" that falls on American taxpayers each year.