What percentage of workers are immigrants?

The United States is often touted as the melting pot, a place for people from all countries to gather. That means that immigrant workers factor heavily in the workforce. Have you been wondering what percentage of workers are immigrants?

The statistics change on a yearly basis, of course, but a study that came out this spring looked at a very complete data set from 2014. It sheds some light on the current state of affairs.

According to the study, 82.9 percent of workers in the U.S. are natives to the country. A full 12.1 percent are immigrants who took the time to get proper authorization and are legally within the country. The remaining 5 percent of the workforce is comprised of immigrants who do not have that authorization.

Percentages do help paint the picture, but what do they mean in real-world numbers? In short, that 12.1 percent of legal immigrants in 2014 represented 19.6 million immigrant workers. At the same time, those without proper documentation came in at about 8 million total workers.

There is one important note, though: Roughly 10 percent of those 8 million, while technically undocumented, did have work authorization. This was granted by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as DACA, which provides qualifying workers with temporary status protection.

Some industries contain far more immigrant workers than others. For instance, when looking at those who work in the personal appearance industry, a full 63 percent are immigrants.

If you’re interested in immigrating for work, it’s crucial to know what rights you have and what first steps to take to get the legal process underway.

Source: CNN, “Immigrant workers are most likely to have these jobs,” Octavio Blanco, accessed July 21, 2017


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