Immigrant Share of the U.S. Population and Civilian Labor Force, 1980 - Present


Immigrant Share of the U.S. Population and Civilian Labor Force, 1980 - Present

Immigrants tend to be in the labor force at rates higher than the U.S. population, as most who enter the United States are of working age. This line chart displays the immigrant share of the U.S. civilian labor force and immigrant share of the total population. Use the dropdown menu on the bottom right to select a state.


The term "immigrants" (or "foreign born") refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States. The civilian labor force includes all civilian persons age 16 and older who were either employed or unemployed in the week prior to participation in the American Community Survey or Decennial Census.


Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. All estimates are based on 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) data except for states with smaller immigrant populations. Estimates of the foreign-born share of the civilian labor force for Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming are from the U.S. Census Bureau's pooled 2015-2019 ACS. Estimates of the foreign-born share of the total population for all states are from the 2019 ACS. The 2010 data are from the 2010 ACS. The 1980 to 2000 data are from MPI analysis of the Decennial Censuses accessed from Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015.