Marie T. Mora and Alberto Davila
First published November 2011
Using microdata from the 2001-2009 American Community Surveys, the 2000 U.S. decennial census, and the 2001-2011 Current Population Surveys, this paper analyzes the earnings and employment patterns of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the first decade of the 2000s. In light of this population’s heterogeneity, our analyses also consider gender- and immigrant-related outcomes. The findings indicate a rising presence of Hispanics in the entrepreneurial sector during the 2000s, especially for immigrants. This increase resulted from the overall growth in the Hispanic population in the U.S. as well as from rising self-employment rates within the Hispanic workforce. Analyses of earnings further indicate that the most recent recession offset some (but not all) of the progress Hispanic women had made with respect to reducing their self-employment “penalties” in the decade, but this was not the case for Hispanic men. Moreover, the recession led to higher rates of microentrepreneurship (defined as having fewer than ten employees) among the self-employed, particularly for foreign-born Hispanic women. These findings indicate Hispanic entrepreneurial growth appeared to have a positive impact on job creation in the 2000s, but mostly at the scale of smaller firms, especially near the end of the decade. The paper concludes with a set of policy implications.