Entrepreneurs with immigrant roots founded top firms

Immigrants or their U.S.-born offspring played a founding role in 44 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Ford, and AT&T.

This story appears in the February 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Entrepreneurial immigrants have always contributed to U.S. economic growth: First- or second-generation Americans were instrumental in founding 44 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies listed in 2018. The companies range from innovators such as Apple and Amazon to financial blue chips like AT&T and Procter & Gamble. The free-market economy provided opportunities—for immigrants and nonimmigrants alike—to create companies delivering new services, products, and visions of the future.

FROM IMMIGRANTS’ DREAMS

Date

founded

2017 revenue

Billions of

dollars

1790—1849: 6 companies

Circles show the top 100 U.S. companies,

sized by 2017 revenues. Those in color

were founded or co-founded by an

immigrant or a U.S.-born child of an

immigrant. Notable founders are listed.

1850—1899: 11

$50

1900—1924: 11

1925—1974: 7

$100

1975—2017: 9

$200

68

Liberty

Mutual

Ins.

Group

64

Energy

Transfer

Equity

63

HCA

Healthcare

84

TIAA

Andrew

Carnegie

Scotland

95

ConocoPhillips

England

ScotlanD

73

Cigna

Ireland

62

Cisco

Systems

58

HP

94

Rite

Aid

85

TJX

Russia

54

Sysco

Russia

31

Valero

Energy

37

Johnson &

Johnson

38

Freddie

Mac

30

Microsoft

93

Mass.

Mutual

Life Ins.

86

American

Express

92

Exelon

England

53

Albertsons

Cos.

44

UPS

Ireland

27

Boeing

Germany

Austria

89

Nike

45

PepsiCo

England

Germany

16

Verizon

Alexander

Graham Bell

Scotland

15

Costco

Canada

36

State Farm

Insurance

Germany

14

Cardinal

Health

75

Delta Air

Lines

57

Pfizer

Germany

26

Wells

Fargo

22

Alphabet

Russia

48

Archer

Daniels

Midland

82

Oracle

Russia

Iran

61

Centene

35

Dell

Technologies

KEY

Rank

Company

Founder or

co-founder

COUNTRY

13

Chevron

4

Apple

Steve

Jobs

syria

5

UnitedHealth

Group

83

Tech

Data

12

Amerisource-

Bergen

France

23

Home

Depot

Russia

60

AIG

49

Aetna

34

IBM

Germany

50

FedEx

43

MetLife

28

Phillips 66

England

ScotlanD

11

Ford Motor

Henry Ford

Ireland

6

McKesson

2

Exxon Mobil

1

Walmart

87

Coca-

Cola

80

Tyson

Foods

33

Comcast

Germany

29

Anthem

72

Best

Buy

81

United

Continental

Holdings

Germany

Austria

19

Walgreens

Boots Alliance

Sweden

10

General

Motors

32

Citigroup

Poland

7

CVS Health

3

Berkshire

Hathaway

71

American

Airlines

46

Intel

Hungary

9

AT&T

Alexander

Graham Bell

Scotland

70

Goldman

Sachs

Germany

20

JPMorgan

Chase

Czechia

25

Express

Scripts

Holding

47

DowDuPont

Canada

France

8

Amazon

Jeff Bezos

Cuba

24

Bank of

America

Italy

74

Charter

Comm.

17

Kroger

Germany

18

General

Electric

ENGLAND

Canada

55

Walt Disney

Walt & Roy Disney

Canada

56

Humana

21

Fannie

Mae

52

Prudential

Financial

96

CHS

51

United

Technologies

Germany

91

World

Fuel

Svcs.

59

Lockheed

Martin

England

41

Marathon

Petroleum

Germany

39

Target

42

Procter &

Gamble

England

Ireland

65

Caterpillar

40

Lowe’s

90

Andeavor

88

Publix

Super

Markets

100

USAA

99

General

Dynamics

Ireland

66

Nationwide

67

Morgan

Stanley

77

Honeywell

International

Switzerland

98

Time

Warner

69

New York

Life Ins.

79

Allstate

76

Facebook

Brazil

97

3M

Canada

78

Merck

Germany

NOTE: In companies founded by merger, breakup, or spin-off, the immigrant

or child-of-immigrant founder of a parent company is used.

SOURCES: FORTUNE; STANDARD & POOR’S; PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW

AMERICAN ECONOMY; Center for American Entrepreneurship

FROM IMMIGRANTS’ DREAMS

Circles show the top 100 U.S. companies,

sized by 2017 revenues. Those in color

were founded or co-founded by an

immigrant or a U.S.-born child of an

immigrant. Notable founders are listed.

Date

founded

1790—1849: 6 companies

1850—1899: 11

1900—1924: 11

1925—1974: 7

1975—2017: 9

2017 revenue

Billions of

dollars

$50

$100

$200

KEY

Rank

Company

Founder or

co-founder

COUNTRY

4

Apple

Steve

Jobs

syria

2

Exxon Mobil

3

Berkshire

Hathaway

1

Walmart

5

UnitedHealth

Group

6

McKesson

7

CVS Health

8

Amazon

Jeff Bezos

Cuba

9

AT&T

Alexander

Graham Bell

Scotland

12

Amerisource-

Bergen

France

10

General

Motors

11

Ford Motor

Henry Ford

Ireland

15

Costco

Canada

13

Chevron

14

Cardinal

Health

17

Kroger

Germany

16

Verizon

Alexander

Graham Bell

Scotland

18

General

Electric

ENGLAND

Canada

19

Walgreens

Boots Alliance

Sweden

20

JPMorgan

Chase

Czechia

23

Home

Depot

Russia

21

Fannie

Mae

22

Alphabet

Russia

26

Wells

Fargo

24

Bank of

America

Italy

27

Boeing

Germany

Austria

25

Express

Scripts

Holding

28

Phillips 66

England

ScotlanD

29

Anthem

30

Microsoft

32

Citigroup

Poland

31

Valero

Energy

33

Comcast

Germany

34

IBM

Germany

36

State Farm

Insurance

Germany

35

Dell

Technologies

37

Johnson &

Johnson

38

Freddie

Mac

40

Lowe’s

41

Marathon

Petroleum

Germany

39

Target

42

Procter &

Gamble

England

Ireland

44

UPS

Ireland

43

MetLife

46

Intel

Hungary

48

Archer

Daniels

Midland

45

PepsiCo

England

Germany

47

DowDuPont

Canada

France

52

Prudential

Financial

49

Aetna

54

Sysco

Russia

50

FedEx

53

Albertsons

Cos.

55

Walt Disney

Walt & Roy Disney

Canada

51

United

Technologies

Germany

56

Humana

57

Pfizer

Germany

58

HP

59

Lockheed

Martin

England

60

AIG

64

Energy

Transfer

Equity

63

HCA

Healthcare

62

Cisco

Systems

65

Caterpillar

61

Centene

68

Liberty

Mutual

Ins.

Group

69

New York

Life Ins.

67

Morgan

Stanley

70

Goldman

Sachs

Germany

66

Nationwide

72

Best

Buy

71

American

Airlines

74

Charter

Comm.

73

Cigna

Ireland

75

Delta Air

Lines

77

Honeywell

International

Switzerland

76

Facebook

Brazil

78

Merck

Germany

81

United

Continental

Holdings

Germany

Austria

83

Tech

Data

79

Allstate

82

Oracle

Russia

Iran

80

Tyson

Foods

84

TIAA

Andrew

Carnegie

Scotland

85

TJX

Russia

86

American

Express

89

Nike

87

Coca-

Cola

91

World

Fuel

Svcs.

88

Publix

Super

Markets

90

Andeavor

92

Exelon

England

93

Mass.

Mutual

Life Ins.

96

CHS

94

Rite

Aid

97

3M

Canada

98

Time

Warner

95

ConocoPhillips

England

ScotlanD

99

General

Dynamics

Ireland

100

USAA

NOTE: In companies founded by merger,

breakup, or spin-off, the immigrant or

child-of-immigrant founder of a parent

company is used.

SOURCES: FORTUNE; STANDARD & POOR’S;

PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY;

Center for American Entrepreneurship