What States are Most Reliant on Immigrant Construction Workers


Earlier this month, we published a post highlighting a high and rising reliance of construction on immigrant workers. Foreign-born workers now account for almost a quarter of workers in the construction industry, and close to 30% of construction tradesmen. In some states, reliance on foreign-born labor is even more pronounced. Immigrants comprise close to 40% of the construction workforce in California and Texas. In Florida, New Jersey and New York, close to 37% of the construction labor force is foreign-born and in Nevada, one out of three construction industry workers come from abroad.

Traditionally, construction immigrants are concentrated in a few populous states, with more than half of all immigrant construction workers (56%) residing in California, Texas, Florida, and New York. These are not only the most populous states in the U.S. (together accounting for nearly a third of the country’s population), they are also particularly reliant on foreign-born construction labor, as more than a third of the construction industry workforce in these states comes from abroad.

California and Texas take the lead on the state list with close to 40% of the construction labor force coming from abroad. The foreign-born share is similarly high in Florida, New Jersey, and New York, between 36 and 37%. In Nevada, one of out three workers in construction is foreign-born.

However, the reliance on foreign-born labor is also noticeable outside of these traditional immigrant magnets. This is evident in states like Maryland, Arizona, and Virginia, where immigrants, as of 2018, account for between 28 and 30% of the construction labor force.

While most states draw the majority of immigrant foreign-born workers from the Americas, Hawaii relies more heavily on Asian immigrants. European immigrants are a significant source of construction labor in North East and Illinois.

Full NAHB report on immigrant workers in construction is available to the public as a courtesy of Housing Economics Online.

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