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Chicago’s Immigrant Businesses Created $659 Million In Income In 1 Year, Report Says

More than 36 percent of the city's entrepreneurs were immigrants in 2016, according to a new report.

Jose Navea and Andrea Andrade, owners of arepas restaurant Sweet Pepper, started the business after immigrating from Venezuela.
Patty Wetli/Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — More than a third of Chicago’s entrepreneurs are immigrants, according to a newly released report.

Immigrants own more than 39,000 businesses in Chicago and make up 36.4 percent of the city’s entrepreneurs, according to the report, which focuses on the economic impact immigrants had on Chicago in 2016. The report was created by the New American Economy.

Those businesses created $659.2 million in income in 2016, according to the report.

And even immigrants who aren’t starting businesses had a significant impact on the economy, according to the report: Their households earned $16.9 billion in 2016 and had $10.9 million in spending power, meaning they had 22.4 percent of the spending power in the city.

And in all, the city’s immigrant population paid $4.4 billion in federal taxes and $1.6 billion in state and local taxes, according to the report.