June 06, 2012
The demographic characteristics of the foreign-born labor force differ from those of the native-born labor force. In 2011, 25.5 percent of the foreign-born labor force age 25 or older had not completed high school, compared with 5.3 percent of the native-born labor force.
The foreign born were less likely than the native born to have some college or an associate degree–17.5 versus 29.9 percent. Similar proportions of foreign-born and native-born persons in the labor force had a bachelor's degree or more education (31.7 and 36.1 percent, respectively).
Foreign-born workers (age 16 or older) in 2011 were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in service occupations; production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
Employed foreign-born men were more likely than their native-born counterparts to work in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations; service occupations; and production, transportation, and material moving occupations. Compared with native-born women workers, employed foreign-born women were more likely to be in service occupations and in production, transportation, and material moving occupations. The difference was especially large in service occupations; 32.2 percent of employed foreign-born women worked in service occupations in 2011, compared with 19.4 percent of employed native-born women.
These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Foreign-Born Workers: Labor Force Characteristics – 2011," news release USDL-12-1019 (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.