Immigrants make up half of New York City’s workforce and 70 percent of certain occupations, according to a new study, which also found that the city's working poor tend to be foreign born.
The report, released Thursday by the Center for an Urban Future, focuses on the impact that foreign-born workers have on the city's economy.
Immigrants make up 70 percent of working New Yorkers in 37 different occupations, according to the study, and make up a significant share of workers in occupations like civil engineering (60 percent foreign born), dentists (55 percent) and real estate brokers (36 percent).
The occupation with the most foreign-born workers is medical aide, with 82,233 immigrants working those jobs in New York. Seventy-six percent of all medical aid workers citywide are immigrants, the study said. Employees working as textile and garment pressers are 96 percent foreign born.
Fields such as cooks and parking lot attendants are dominated by foreign-born workers (both 78 percent), as are medical technicians (71 percent) and welding, soldering and brazing workers (72 percent).
The career path with the fewest number of immigrant workers is budget analysis. Just 264 out of 1,450 budget analysts in the city are foreign born, according to the report. The occupation with the lowest share of foreign born workers is firefighting with just 8 percent.
More than half of all immigrants work in just 27 fields, according to the report.
The top “higher-wage” occupation with the most foreign-born workers are the medical and life sciences with 70 percent foreign-born workers. Medical and life sciences is also the field with the most growth in immigrant workers since 2000, the study found.
The roles with the least amount of immigrant workers? Agents and business managers for artists, athletes and performers.
The median annual income, or what the typical immigrant worker earns in New York is $43,700, while the median income of native-born workers is $54,700 annually, the report said. About 28 percent of immigrant workers earn less than $25,000 a year.
Jobs with the most immigrant workers tend to use insecurity about immigration status as a method of exploitation and an excuse to pay poor wages, the study said. Conversely, jobs with the lowest share of foreign-born workers pay better and offer a "pathway to the middle class," according to the report.
To read the full study, "Where Immigrant New Yorkers go to Work," click the link.
The Center for an Urban Future describes itself as an “independent, nonpartisan policy organization, CUF uses fact-based research to elevate important and often overlooked issues onto the radar of policymakers and advance practical solutions that strengthen New York and help all New Yorkers participate in the city’s rising prosperity.”