Labor force participation rates of the foreign born and native born, 2008–2012

May 28, 2013

In 2012, the labor force participation rate of the foreign born was 66.3 percent, compared with 63.2 percent for the native born. The labor force participation rate was 78.5 percent for foreign-born men and 68.6 percent for native-born men. Among women, 54.8 percent of the foreign born were labor force participants, compared with 58.2 percent of the native born.

Labor force participation rates of the foreign-born and native-born populations by selected characteristics, annual averages, 2008–2012
Characteristic20082009201020112012

Foreign born

     

Total, 16 years and over

68.167.967.967.066.3

Men

81.480.580.179.578.5

Women

54.855.455.754.654.8

Race

     

White non-Hispanic or Latino

60.359.860.760.260.1

Black non-Hispanic or Latino

73.272.474.671.270.6

Asian non-Hispanic or Latino

68.267.765.865.664.7

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

70.770.870.869.869.0

Educational attainment (Age 25 years and over)

     

Less than a high school diploma

61.161.461.660.059.9

High school graduates, no college

68.167.268.466.866.4

Some college or associate degree

73.773.773.472.971.0

Bachelor's degree and higher

77.076.975.575.775.3

Native born

     

Total, 16 years and over

65.664.964.163.663.2

Men

71.470.469.568.868.6

Women

60.359.859.158.758.2

Race

     

White non-Hispanic or Latino

66.265.764.864.363.7

Black non-Hispanic or Latino

62.561.260.760.160.0

Asian non-Hispanic or Latino

62.761.061.561.561.5

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

66.165.064.063.263.9

Educational attainment (Age 25 years and over)

     

Less than a high school diploma

38.437.937.137.736.7

High school graduates, no college

61.861.460.659.358.4

Some college or associate degree

71.770.970.269.068.5

Bachelor's degree and higher

78.077.676.976.676.1

In 2012, the labor force participation rates for foreign-born blacks, Asians, and Hispanics were higher than for their native-born counterparts, while the rate for foreign-born whites was lower than the rate for native-born whites.  Among the foreign born, the labor force participation rate for blacks was 70.6 percent in 2012, little different from the participation rate for Hispanics (69.0 percent). The participation rate for Asians was 64.7 percent, while that for whites was 60.1 percent. Among the native born, the labor force participation rates for Hispanics and whites were 63.9 percent and 63.7 percent, respectively, higher than the rates for Asians (61.5 percent) and blacks (60.0 percent).

In terms of educational attainment in 2012, the labor force participation rate for the foreign born (25 years and over) with less than a high school diploma was 59.9 percent, compared with 36.7 percent for the native born. Among those with a bachelor's degree and higher, the labor force participation rate for the foreign born and the native born was little different—75.3 and 76.1 percent, respectively.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Foreign-Born Workers: Labor Force Characteristics — 2012," news release USDL‑13‑0991 (HTML) (PDF). The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Labor force participation rates of the foreign born and native born, 2008–2012 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130528.htm (visited September 01, 2014).

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