The Representation of Immigrants in Federal, State, and Local Government Work Forces

  • Gregory B. Lewis
  • Cathy Yang Liu
  • Jason T. Edwards


Public sector employment of immigrants can increase their economic assimilation and potentially improve their treatment by government. Yet, as we show using Census data from 1990, 2000, and 2009–2011, immigrants are substantially underrepresented in federal, state, and local governments. To understand why, we use logit analysis for federal and for state and local government employment in each time period to test whether immigrants’ weaker educational attainment and English proficiency, lower probabilities of being citizens and military veterans, and different age, gender, and race/ethnicity distributions can explain that underrepresentation. Disparities in education and preferential government treatment of veterans are factors, but citizenship requirements appear to be the major obstacle to immigrant employment in the public sector.


Immigrants Employment Federal, state, and local government United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory B. Lewis
    • 1
  • Cathy Yang Liu
    • 1
  • Jason T. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Management and Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy StudiesGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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