10 Occupations with the Highest Percentage of Unauthorized Immigrants

Tuesday, June 02, 2015
(photo: Getty Images, iStockphoto)

Unauthorized immigrants in the United States have long been associated with working as farm laborers, giving the impression that toiling in agricultural fields was the thing they did more than any other profession.


However, data compiled by the Pew Research Center shows the profession with the highest rate of unauthorized immigrants is drywall and ceiling tile installers. They comprise 34% of all Americans who work in that field.


The job type with the second highest percentage is farmworkers (30%). In third place is roofers (27%), followed by maids and housekeepers (25%). Painters, along with construction and maintenance workers, rank fifth (24%). Tied at sixth place are two additional groups of construction workers: brickmasons/blockmasons/stonemasons and carpet/floor/tile installers (both at 22%).


Three industries each have 21% of their employees as unauthorized immigrants: grounds maintenance workers; sewing machines operators; and packaging and filling machine operators.


Twenty percent of construction laborers and butchers are made up of unauthorized immigrants.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Appendix B: Additional National Tables and Chart (Pew Research Center)

Chapter 1: Occupations of Unauthorized Immigrant Workers (by Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center)


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