Immigrants No Longer Make Up Majority of Hispanic Workers in U.S.

Saturday, June 21, 2014
Latino construction workers (photo: National Institutes of Health)

The majority of Hispanic workers today in the United States were born in this country, reversing a two-decade trend, according to new demographic information.


The latest figures show immigrants make up 49.7% of the 22 million Hispanics working in the U.S., as of last year. The rest were born here, according to a study from the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project. The change has been brought on by a sharp reduction in immigration from Latin America, primarily Mexico, since the Great Recession.


In 2007, just before the beginning of the downturn, the share of Hispanic immigrant workers was much higher, 56.1%. Since then, American-born Hispanics have gained the vast majority of the 2.8 million jobs captured by Hispanics over the past five years, with only 453,000 going to immigrants.


 “This development is mostly due to the waning inflow of Hispanic immigrants,” Pew researchers found. “The Great Recession, a tepid jobs recovery, tighter border controls and more deportations have served to mitigate migration to the U.S. from Latin America, especially Mexico, in recent years. Since the recession started in December 2007, the growth in the Latino immigrant workforce (people ages 16 and older) has slowed dramatically even as the Latino U.S.-born workforce continues to expand at a rapid pace.”


The slow recovery of the housing industry also has much to do with the decline in Hispanic immigrant workers in the United States. There were 1.6 million Latino immigrants employed in that sector before the recession; many of those jobs have not returned. Many of the jobs held by Latinos that have been created in the recovery are lower-wage service jobs.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born (by Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project)

Most Latino Workers Born in U.S., Study Says (by Tanzina Vega, New York Times)


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