What U.S. jobs/industries have high levels of immigrant workers?

Immigrants make big contributions in many places here in the U.S., including the workplace. According to estimates, a little over 17 percent of the American workforce consisted of immigrants in 2014. Immigrant workers are present in all kinds of industries and hold all kinds of jobs here in America. However, certain jobs/industries have a higher share of immigrant workers than others.

A recent Pew Research analysis looked at what industries and jobs have particularly high levels of immigrant workers (both those in the country on a legal status and those who are undocumented) here in the United States. The analysis used 2014 workforce estimates in making its determinations.

While the analysis found that no major U.S. industry had a majority of positions held by immigrant workers, it did find some industries to have immigrant workers make up a substantial portion of their workforce. The three industries the analysis found to have the highest immigrant share of workers were:

  • No. 1 – private households.
  • No. 2 – textile/apparel/leather manufacturing.
  • No. 3 – agriculture.

The occupational group the analysis found to have the large share of immigrant workers was farming/fishing/forestry. Building/grounds cleaning and maintenance held the No.2 spot and construction/extraction came in third.

When it came to specific occupations, the occupation that took the top spot for share of immigrant workers was miscellaneous personal appearance workers. Second place was held by graders/sorters of agricultural products, while third place was held by plasterers and stucco masons.

For immigrants here in the U.S., their job cannot only play a big role in their financial situation, it can also be a big factor in their immigration situation. There are many types of visas that individuals can be in the U.S. on. Among these are work visas. In such visas, a workers’ immigration status can be directly tied to their job. Many unique legal issues can come up for work visa holders and individuals who are seeking out such visas. When trying to navigate legal and immigration issues related to U.S. work visas, a foreign national may find having a skilled immigration attorney’s guidance to be very helpful.

Source: Pew Research Center, “Immigrants don’t make up a majority of workers in any U.S. industry,” Drew DeSilver, March 16, 2017