Most Common Jobs Held by Immigrants in each US State

Posted August 24th, 2015 at 5:00 am (UTC-4)

Migrant workers at Di'Mare farms in Florida City, Florida, load a truck with unripe tomatoes January 4 for shipment to a local packing plant. (Reuters)

Migrant workers at Di’Mare farms in Florida City, Florida, load a truck with unripe tomatoes January 4 for shipment to a local packing plant. (Reuters)


Immigrant children of unknown nationality photographed at Ellis Island in New York. ( US National Archives) Past Immigrants Had It Easier than Today’s

FILE - Ying Fang Kaplan from Taiwan, center, Anju Vajja from India, right, and Alfred Tecson from the Philippines, left, wave the American flag after being sworn-in as new citizens of the United States at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)

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Photo taken in Pasadena, California on April 28, 2012. (Photo by Flickr user  Jorge Gonzalez under Creative Commons License)

What It Takes to Be a Real American

There are 41 million foreign-born people living in the United States and a new map illustrates the most common jobs held by those immigrants.

Business Insider  used information from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year. The data was assembled and processed by the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series program.

The map below shows the jobs most commonly held by people who said they were born in a country other than the United States.

Immigrants make up 12.9 percent of the overall population, according to the Center for American Progress. That sounds like a lot of people, but the high point for immigration in the U.S. actually came in 1890, when 14.8 percent of the population was foreign born.


While the map shows that many immigrants are housekeepers, janitors and agricultural workers, the majority of jobs thought to be overwhelmingly worked by non-natives are in fact filled by native-born Americans, according to the Center for Immigration Studies:

  • Maids and housekeepers: 51% native-born
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58% native-born
  • Butchers and meat processors: 63% native-born
  • Grounds maintenance workers: 64% native-born
  • Construction laborers: 66% native-born
  • Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 72% native-born
  • Janitors: 73% native-born

Jobs worked by immigrants tend to pay low wages and usually require little formal education. In high-immigrant occupations, 59 percent of the workers have a high school education or lower, compared to 31 percent of the rest of the labor force.

11 responses to “Most Common Jobs Held by Immigrants in each US State”

  1. Buddy says:

    Like to see a comparative map with just LEGAL immigrant jobs

    • Eric L says:

      Hello Buddy, it seems implied that this data is about documented migrant workers, not the undocumented. But if the authors would clarify that would be nice.

      If you want to be mad ask yourself why Delaware has so many migrant software developers. Many corporations are registered in Delaware for a number of tax/legal reasons. H-1B visas allow a company to hire a skilled person from overseas – someone who is likely going to be completely dependent on their employer and working for less than a domestic worker with the same skills. Inside the beltway the lobbyist-approved immigration reform is about MORE H-1B visas.

      The 50 United States have open borders and free trade – why should we be afraid of a time when we have a similar relationship with our American neighbors? What we should be concerned about is companies conspiring to exploit globalization to drive down wages for computer workers.

    • Jake says:

      The data comes from a population study of legal immigrants you moron. Also notice college teachers for several states.

      • Susan says:

        Did you look through each source, to confirm that it was only legal immigrants? I see nothing in the article that differentiates that fact. There are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS with jobs not only as college professors, but in all levels of government jobs, particularly in the state of California, so Buddy deserves an apology.

        • Chauncey Rivers says:

          Are you insane Susan? You really think illegal immigrants can get jobs as teachers and professors? Do you have even the slightest idea how thoroughly candidates are vetted for those jobs? Jobs that require interaction with children are some of the most carefully screened. Your paranoia is devouring you.

  2. Ruthie Smith says:

    Legal immigrants, I admire them because they went through the process of getting their documents in order, but when the job is done, go home unless you have green cards or citizenship. We have to take care of our own Country before we can take care of illegal immigrants.
    We want Our Country to be Great again with only American’s living here in the USA.

    • Lol lol says:

      America is a continent not a country lol
      Dumb how whites claim America for them selves

    • Eastman says:

      Please define Americans. If you only study your history you will be aware that this Land is for the free or does wanting to be free.

  3. tundra says:

    Illegal immigrants do not exist in USA. Only Republican businessman in needed of very very cheap workforce

  4. Martin mutanga says:

    its not fair that an individual stays jobless and hungry in Africa, say Nairobi when there is a job in America that can keep him alive and breathing. God never created that kind of life. you waste much in purchasing military B52 bombers and insist factories for goods that will sell in Africa and other developing world be based in USA.
    don’t hate us, coming to america is natural. we must come and the remedy is to reduce trade distortions and let Africans grow their economies more fairly.
    your cars will sell here. why cant our coffee and tea sell freely and at right price.
    As goods move freely, so should labour. Anything else to say the least is a distortion. we

  5. Pete in Saint Pete says:

    Why are a majority of highly educated Eastern European relegated to Jobs far below their education levels. This is what I have seen in the real world. This is supposed to be the country of oppertunity yet these people with Higher education are so far below minimum wage is it crazy. I know engineers from Eastern Europe who are care takers making $8,000 a year. True this is in Florida the lowest paying state in the nation, but it is crazy that there exist nothing in this country to help these HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE.

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