Foreign born more likely than native born to work in service occupations

June 15, 2016

In 2015, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in service occupations; natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations; and production, transportation, and material moving occupations. Native-born workers were more likely than foreign-born workers to be employed in management, professional, and related occupations and sales and office occupations.

Percent distribution of employed native-born and foreign-born workers 16 years and over by occupation, 2011 and 2015 annual averages
Occupation 2011 2015
Native born Foreign born Native born Foreign born

Total employed, all occupations

100% 100% 100% 100%

Management, professional, and related

39.3 28.6 40.6 30.8

Management

11.5 7.6 12.1 8.1

Business and financial operations

4.7 3.4 5.0 3.5

Computer and mathematical

2.4 3.5 2.7 4.3

Architecture and engineering

2.0 2.0 1.9 2.2

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 1.0 0.9 1.2

Community and social service

1.8 0.9 1.9 0.9

Legal

1.4 0.4 1.4 0.4

Education, training, and library

6.6 3.7 6.5 3.5

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

2.1 1.4 2.2 1.4

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.7 4.8 6.0 5.2

Service

16.4 24.6 16.2 23.4

Healthcare support

2.4 2.6 2.3 2.7

Protective service

2.5 0.9 2.3 0.9

Food preparation and serving related

5.1 7.9 5.1 7.1

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.0 8.8 2.9 8.4

Personal care and service

3.4 4.3 3.5 4.3

Sales and office

24.8 17.5 23.8 16.6

Sales and related

11.4 8.7 10.9 8.6

Office and administrative support

13.4 8.7 12.8 8.0

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

8.5 13.5 8.3 13.8

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.5 1.9 0.5 1.8

Construction and extraction

4.5 8.5 4.4 9.0

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.6 3.2 3.4 3.0

Production, transportation, and material moving

11.0 15.8 11.1 15.4

Production

5.3 8.7 5.3 7.9

Transportation and material moving

5.7 7.2 5.9 7.5

Among management, professional, and related occupations in 2015, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in computer and mathematical occupations; and life, physical and social science occupations. Native-born workers were more likely than foreign-born workers to be employed in the following occupations: management; business and financial operations; community and social service; legal; education, training, and library; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and healthcare practitioners and technical.

From 2011 to 2015, the proportion of foreign-born workers in computer and mathematical occupation increased from 3.5 percent to 4.3 percent, compared with an increase from 2.4 percent to 2.7 percent for native-born workers. The share of foreign-born workers in food preparation and serving related occupations decreased, along with the share of workers in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations. The proportion of native-born workers and foreign-born workers in office and administrative support occupations decreased from 2011 to 2015.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “Foreign-born Workers: Labor Force Characteristics — 2015” (HTML) (PDF). The foreign born are people who live in the United States but 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. The survey data, however, do not separately identify people in these categories.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Foreign born more likely than native born to work in service occupations on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/foreign-born-more-likely-than-native-born-to-work-in-service-occupations.htm (visited December 11, 2017).

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