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Here's What America's Immigrant Workforce Looks Like

Almost 17% of the US workforce was born overseas, as the Day Without Immigrants protests seek to make clear.

Posted on February 16, 2017, at 12:59 p.m. ET

As President Trump reiterates his commitment to crack down on undocumented immigrants, businesses around the country closed on Thursday for a "Day without Immigrants" to highlight the importance of foreign-born workers to the US economy.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Foreign born workers — including legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants —make up 16.7% of America's labor force, according to 2015 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hispanics and Asians make up almost 3/4 of the country's foreign-born workforce.

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Immigrants are particularly heavily represented in some industries — technology, restaurants, agriculture, and construction.


They also are less likely to be unemployed than native workers.

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And they earn less. Income-wise, immigrant workers earn 78.8% of what native workers earn due to differences in educational attainment, jobs, and geography. The gap evens out, however, among workers with college degrees.

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