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Boro immigrant business sees rapid growth since ‘94

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The report, compiled and released by the Manhattan-based Center for an Urban Future, said neighborhoods with large immigrant populations - such as Flushing, Jackson Heights, Richmond Hill and Elmhurst - are experiencing more robust economic growth than other parts of the city, particularly in areas with large America-born populations. The report said between the years of 1994 and 2004, the number of businesses in Flushing shot up 54.6 percent - compared with an actual citywide increase of just over 9 percent.Not far behind were Jackson Heights, which saw an increase of more than 25 percent in total businesses within its borders and Elmhurst, which saw its number of businesses grow by more than 14 percent over the same period. Queens, the most diverse county in the United States, saw a drop-off in the number of native-born, self-employed workers between 1990 and 2000, the report said. While the number of foreign-born workers who were self-employed rose than 55 percent - or an increase of more than 25,000 people - native-born entrepreneurs in the borough decreased 14.3 percent over the same period, the report said. The Center for an Urban Future, a think tank that fuses journalistic reporting techniques with traditional policy analysis to produce reports on various issues facing cities in the United States, said the increase in foreign-born businesses can largely be attributed to a major influx of various ethnic groups revitalizing long-neglected business strips. Main Street in Flushing, 74th Street in Jackson Heights and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill are all examples of areas that have seen rapid growth in the past two to three decades and as a result have experienced a renaissance of commerce, the group said. The report also noted, however, that compared with other cities in the United States, many immigrant-owned business have a difficult time getting off the ground in New York. The Center for Urban Future said based on sales figures in each city, Asian and Hispanic-owned businesses in places like Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago average more sales receipts than those based in New York. This trend is attributed to several factors, according to the report, such as the high cost of commercial real estate and insurance in New York, the same factors that hinder many businesses in the city.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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