216 companies on the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants or their children

Current dreamer, future founder of a Fortune 500 company?
Current dreamer, future founder of a Fortune 500 company?
Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
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For a quick picture of immigrants’ contributions to the US, take a look at the country’s Fortune 500 firms.

Of the companies that made the list in 2017, 43% were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, according to research from the Center for American Entrepreneurship.

The share of immigrant founders in technology is even higher, 45%—though there are immigrant entrepreneurs are represented in every sector.

The data are in part a reflection of past immigration waves to the US. They include iconic companies such as PepsiCo, DuPont, and Colgate, started by European arrivals more than a century ago.

People born in other countries and their children have continued to feed the Fortune 500 list in more recent decades. Apple founder Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant, and Russia-born Sergey Brin from Google—and its parent Alphabet—are among the most famous. But there are other relatively new companies with immigrant ties. Marc Randolph, one of Netflix’s founders, is the son of an Austrian immigrant. Sol Barer, a German immigrant, helped start biotech firm Celgene.

The immigration policies Congress and the Trump administration adopt will shape that list in the future. In 100 years, will it still show that the US benefits from the ideas of people born beyond its shores?