Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

An Assessment of Hispanic Entrepreneurship in the United States

Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

An Assessment of Hispanic Entrepreneurship in the United States

Article excerpt

Introduction

Hispanics today represent the largest ethnic and racial minority in the United States. As of 2014, Hispanics accounted for 17.1% of the U.S. population, 55 million in total. Estimates indicate that by the year 2060, the Hispanic population will grow to 119 million, representing 28.6% of the total U.S. population (Pew Research Center, 2015). This growth in population has rippled across Hispanic-owned businesses. Hispanic firms comprise 8.3% of all business in the United States, the largest percentage amongst ethnic groups (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Furthermore, Hispanics are starting businesses at a rate three times higher than the national rate (Llenas, 2015). According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Hispanicowned businesses "had strong job creation through expansions in 19 states," in contrast to other groups, whose businesses lost jobs during and after the recession (Lowrey, 2010, p. 6). Hispanic-owned businesses are indisputably an essential part of the U.S. economy.

Major studies have focused on immigration patterns of Hispanics in the United States, including regional concentrations, levels of education, and economic assimilation (Wang, 2011; Wang & Li, 2007; Xie & Gough, 2011). Limited research over the recent years exists on Hispanic entrepreneurship and its manifestation in the United States. Current literature on ethnic entrepreneurship and migrant entrepreneurship supports the hypothesis that Hispanics face many challenges, like other ethnic groups. However, the demographics of Hispanic entrepreneurs (e.g. gender, education, and English proficiency) play a significant role in the success of their businesses. This article aims to contribute to the field of ethnic entrepreneurship by providing a holistic review of Hispanic entrepreneurs and Hispanic--owned businesses in the United States.

Data and Method

The data for this study comes from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO), produced by the U.S. Census Bureau every four years. At the time of this research, the latest 2012 data was not available. "The SBO provides the only source of detailed and comprehensive data on the status, nature, and scope of women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses" (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.). This source provides a broad outlook on ethnic entrepreneurship growth rates and economic performance, particularly for Hispanic-owned businesses. Other descriptive analyses and academic literature identified further information, including socioeconomic characteristics of Hispanic entrepreneurs and labor market opportunities. The information is in a narrative manner along with illustrations and charts that summarize statistical data.

Literature Review

Entrepreneurship

There are several variations in the literature defining entrepreneurship. Ramirez-Bishop (2013) defines entrepreneurs as those "individual[s] who entered into self-employment as a primary economic activity-and ha[ve] not been enrolled in school on a full-time or part-time basis during that time" (p. 3). The concept "entering entrepreneurship" indicates business creation (p. 2). No distinction is visible in the literature between the terms "business-ownership," "entrepreneurship," or "self-employment" (Ma, Zhao, Wang, & Lee, 2013; Mavoothu, 2009; Piperopoulos, 2012; Wang & Li, 2007). For the purpose of this research, the terms "selfemployment" and "entrepreneurship" are interchangeable.

Contemporary ethnic entrepreneurship is a growing field of study. "[Cjontemporary ethnic entrepreneurship studies have shifted from research on enclave economies, ethnic enterprises, and social embeddedness to research on immigrant entrepreneurs, immigrant networks, and transnational entrepreneurs" (Ma et al., 2013, p. 32). Piperopoulos (2012) indicates a boom in literature on the field of entrepreneurship and small businesses in the 1970s and 1980s, where ethnic and minority entrepreneurship emerged as branches of the academic field. …

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