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The most common industries for immigrants in the US to work in are the educational and health services, which the Census Bureau groups together, and the professional and business services industries. These are also the largest industries overall in the US. The industry with the largest amount of immigrant workers relative to its overall size is construction.

The Census Bureau uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to categorize broad industries and the sub-industries that fall under them.[1] For example, professional services include legal and accounting services; educational services include roles at primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and trade schools; and health services include the work of physicians, nursing care facilities, and child care, among others.

How many immigrants are currently employed in the workforce?

In 2022, there were about 28.4 million immigrants employed in the workforce.[2] The number of immigrant workers has increased by nearly 7 million since 2010, when there were 21.5 million. In comparison, there were about 129.4 million native-born workers.

Which industries employ the most immigrant workers?

The educational and health services industry employs the most immigrant workers — 5.2 million, or 18.2% of all foreign-born employees in the US in 2022. This is followed by professional and business services at 4.3 million (15.2%) and construction at 3.3 million (11.7%).

Educational and health services also had the highest number of native-born workers at nearly 31 million people or about 23.9% of all native-born employment. Wholesale and retail trade had the second-highest number of native-born workers, accounting for 12.9% of native-born employment, and professional and business services was the third at about 12.3%.

The mining industry employed the lowest number of both foreign-born and native-born workers. There were 70,000 foreign-born workers in 2022, or about 0.25% of foreign-born employment, in the industry and 472,000 native-born workers (0.36%).

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Which industries have the highest share of immigrant workers?

The construction industry had the highest share of immigrant workers in 2022: an estimated 3.33 million, or 11.7% of all immigrant employment. In comparison, 8.05 million native-born people worked in construction in 2022, representing 6.2% of all native-born employment.

The second-largest share of immigrant workers was in the services sector at 22.8% of all workers. The services category includes a range of occupations, from automotive repair, barber and beauty salons, and religious organizations. Immigrant workers made up 21.3% of the professional and business services workforce in 2022, which includes legal services, accounting, or veterinary services, among occupations.

About 468,000 immigrants worked in agriculture, a category that also includes forestry, fishing, and hunting. This represented 1.7% of total immigrant employment. In comparison, almost four times as many native-born people worked in agriculture with 1.82 million workers in 2022, or 1.4% of the native-born employed workforce.

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Which industries have increased their number of immigrant workers?

There were more immigrant workers in every industry tracked by the Census Bureau in 2022 compared to 2010. The share of immigrant workers increased by more than 3 percentage points from 2010 to 2022 in construction, mining, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services.

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In which industries are losing native-born workers while gaining immigrant workers?

The numbers of native-born workers exceed immigrant workers in every industry. However, the number native-born employees in certain industries dropped from 2010 to 2022 while immigrant employee numbers rose.

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Current Population Survey: 2023 Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) Supplement

See Appendix A for more information.


This data only captures civilian workers.