Based on the 1990 census data for America’s 16 largest metropolitan regions, this study assesses the propensities of immigrants and minorities to become self-employed and concentrate in particular niches in different metropolitan regions in relation to earnings. Massive gravitation of nonmainstream groups into self-employment was found to be associated with a low earnings advantage of self-employment, particularly where the self-employed concentrated in a few low-income traditional niches. These niches, however, could still contribute to the economic progress of immigrants and were particularly attractive for less-educated males. High earnings advantage of self-employment, associated with high rates of self-employment, characterized several large communities located in the largest metropolitan regions, where immigrant entrepreneurs expanded from traditional specializations into a broader range of entrepreneurial niches.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
1The research was supported by grant No. 92-00046fromthe United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF). The authors thank Mr. Dan Scheinberg for research assistance.