Common Jobs Held By Immigrants in the United States

Recently, Voice of America (VOA) produced a series of maps and charts that showed the wide variety of jobs that are commonly held by immigrants throughout the country. VOA put together this information using a study conducted by the Minnesota Population Center. One particularly interesting map displays the most common job held by immigrants in each of the 50 states.

The map shows just how many different industries are supported by immigrant workers. For example, in Missouri, Michigan and Ohio, the most common immigrant held job is college professor. While in North Dakota and New Hampshire the most commonly held job is in the field of nursing. In California, the jobs most frequently held by immigrants are agricultural position. This is not surprising, as California is the nation’s leading agricultural producer. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that California produces $48 billion worth of agricultural products on an annual basis. To put that number into perspective, California produces nearly twice as much agricultural value as does any other state. This could not be done without immigrant labor, and that includes significant contributions from undocumented immigrants workers. Immigrants provide critical support to the agricultural industry in Southern California.

Though, it is certainly not the only industry that relies heavily on the contribution of immigrant workers. The following is a list of four other industries in Los Angeles County that rely on the immigrant community:


The entertainment industry is a key piece of the fabric that makes up Los Angeles. In many ways, our local economy relies on all of the different aspects of the entertainment industry. This includes:

  • Movies and Television: Many of the world’s largest movie studios are located in Los Angeles County. Disney, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios are all located in the San Fernando Valley; while Columbia, Fox and Paramount are located in Hollywood and on the Westside.  
  • Music: The country’s largest record label, Universal Music Group, is headquartered in Santa Monica.
  • Sports: Many professional sports teams play in the city of Los Angeles and in the surrounding communities, including the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Rams.
  • Fashion: Finally, the fashion industry is also prominent in within Los Angeles. Many models come from all over the world to perform at fashion shows and events within the city.

Ultimately, none of these entertainment industries could remain fully competitive without the contributions of immigrants and other foreign born workers. This includes many undocumented immigrants who provide valuable labor throughout all aspects of these industries. Fortunately, there are several work visas that can be valuable to employees within the entertainment industry, including O-1 Visa, O-2 Visa, O-3 Visa and H-1B Visa.


H-1B Visas are also vital for Los Angeles’s technology industry. An H-1B visa allows companies to legally employ foreign workers who have specialized skills. Many companies within the technology sector rely on these visas. This specifically includes companies that work in computer science, information technology, and engineering.


Immigrants, including many undocumented immigrants, also provide much need labor in the construction industry. According to a study conducted by the California Immigration Policy Center (CIPC), immigrants make up a huge percentage of certain professions within this industry. More specifically, in Los Angeles County, immigrants make up 77 percent of painters, 76 percent of brick and stone masons, 75 percent of carpet and flooring installers and 71 percent of drywall installers. There has been a construction boom in L.A. in recent years, but it could not have happened without immigrant workers.


The CPIC study on the immigrants of Los Angeles County also finds that immigrants provide the majority of the labor in the maintenance industry. In L.A. County, 89 percent of all housekeepers are immigrants. Further, nearly 80 percent of all lawn services and grounds crew workers are immigrants and nearly 66 percent of all janitors are immigrants. Once again, many of these immigrant workers are currently undocumented. Without the contributions that these people are making, our whole community would be much worse off. All immigrants within the Los Angeles region must be treated with dignity and respect.

Do You Need Immigration Assistance?

We can help. At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles have extensive experience solving a wide variety of immigration problems. Please do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles office today to learn more about what we can do for you as an immigrant in L.A. Our team proudly serves immigrants throughout Southern California, including in Glendale, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Burbank.

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