Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Millions of Undocumented Immigrants Are Essential to America’s Recovery, New Report Shows


A new report released today by the Center for American Progress highlights the important contributions of 10.4 million undocumented immigrants in the country today, including the work of an estimated 5 million undocumented essential workers helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic and keep the country moving.

An estimated 7 million undocumented immigrants are helping to lift up major sectors of the workforce, 5 million of whom are serving alongside their fellow Americans on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic response as farmworkers, construction laborers, custodial staff, home health or personal care aides, and more.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Undocumented immigrants make up approximately 3.2 percent of the U.S. population, but 4.4 percent of the country’s workforce.
  • There are more than 7 million undocumented immigrants working in the United States.
  • In 41 states and Washington, D.C., there are more than 10,000 undocumented workers, and in 16 states that total is greater than 100,000.
  • In every state, undocumented immigrants make up a larger share of the workforce than they do the total population.
    • California and Texas are home to the largest undocumented workforce, with 1.4 million and 1.2 million undocumented workers, respectively.
  • More than 1.4 million undocumented immigrants work in construction, accounting for 13 percent of all construction workers.
  • Nearly 1 million undocumented immigrants work in accommodation and food services, approximately 8.4 percent of all workers in the industry.
  • 710,000 undocumented workers make up 10 percent of the administrative and support and waste management industries, and another 489,000 undocumented workers in nonpublic administration services are also overrepresented in the field.
  • Approximately 25 percent of workers in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations are undocumented—although this is likely an undercount—as are 16 percent of workers in construction and extraction occupations.
  • 15 percent of workers in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations are undocumented.
  • 7 percent of workers in food preparation and serving-related occupations are undocumented.
  • 7 percent of workers in production occupations are undocumented.
  • 6 percent of workers in transportation and material moving occupations are undocumented.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 landscaping workers, maids or housekeepers, and construction laborers are undocumented immigrants.
  • Nearly 30 percent of agricultural workers or painters are undocumented.


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