New Report Reveals Immigrant Roots Of Fortune 500 Companies
Photo: James Tourtellotte, dhs.gov
By Dr. Steven Hubbard, American Immigration Council
WASHINGTON, DC – Immigrant entrepreneurs have long been an important part of America’s economic success story. Some of the largest and most recognizable American companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants, hence our report uses the moniker “New American” to describe these companies.
This includes household names such as Apple and Costco, as well as newcomers to the Fortune 500 list like Coupang and Lululemon.
Immigrants have long been economic catalyzers, known for igniting innovation and growth across industries.
Since our first New American Fortune 500 report in 2011, the Council has found that more than two out of every five Fortune 500 companies—the 500 largest corporations by revenue in the country—had at least one immigrant or child-of-immigrant founder. This year, we find that 44.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies were “New American” companies that were founded by immigrants or their children.
Venturing into uncharted territories, immigrants and their children have created new businesses that fuel job creation for American workers and strengthen our nation’s economy. The New American Fortune 500 companies that they founded stand as testaments to not only their success but also the strength of the American economy and character that welcomes them and embraces their entrepreneurial spirit.
Nearly forty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.
Looking at the New American companies that made the 2023 Fortune 500 list, we find that 44.8 percent of them, or 224 companies, were founded by immigrants or their children. Of those companies, 103 were founded directly by foreign-born individuals while another 121 were founded by the children of immigrants. Of this year’s crop of New American Fortune 500, several notable new companies made the cut.
New American Fortune 500 companies brought in more than $8 trillion in revenue.
These New American firms make important contributions to both the U.S. and the global economy. In fiscal year 2022, the 224 New American companies on the 2023 Fortune 500 list brought in $8.1 trillion in revenue. To put it in context, that figure is greater than the GDP of many developed countries—including Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In fact, a country with a GDP equal to the revenues of the New American Fortune 500 firms would be the third largest economy in the world, behind only the United States and China.
New American Fortune 500 companies employ 14.8 million people.
These companies are a strong driver of job creation. Each New American Fortune 500 company employs 66,192 workers on average. Together, New American Fortune 500 firms employ over 14.8 million people worldwide—a population that would rank as the fifth largest state in the country, just after New York but easily beating Pennsylvania.
Six states have at least ten New American Fortune 500 firms.
When we look at companies at the state level, several states are home to a significant number of New American Fortune 500 firms. Among the states that have 10 or more New American Fortune 500 companies, New York, America’s original immigrant gateway, leads the pack with 30 firms. California comes in second with 24 New American Fortune 500 companies, followed by Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Virginia. Given their number and size, having these New American companies headquartered in their states provides a positive economic impact on each state’s economy.
Fortune 500 companies significantly contribute to the U.S. economy, representing over 65% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The impact of these corporations is also observable at the local and state levels, particularly where they are headquartered. According to a 2019 study by RS Components, states with a higher concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters, such as New York, Texas, and California, tend to function as central “business hubs”.
The study reveals a correlation between the presence of Fortune 500 companies and increased business investment and development within those states. Moreover, the study found that these states typically possess network facilities that enable professionals to convene and engage in industry discussions. These venues facilitate the sharing of ideas and foster new business formation. The location of Fortune 500 headquarters boosts state economies through increased revenue, business investment, and the formation of professional networks that encourage economic activity and innovation.