, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 535–551 | Cite as

Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?

  • Pia M. Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny


Recent media and government reports suggest that immigrants are more likely to hold jobs with poor working conditions than U.S.-born workers, perhaps because immigrants work in jobs that “ natives don’t want.” Despite this widespread view, earlier studies have not found immigrants to be in riskier jobs than natives. This study combines individual-level data from the 2003-2005 American Community Survey with Bureau of Labor Statistics data on work-related injuries and fatalities to take a fresh look at whether foreign-born workers are employed in more dangerous jobs. The results indicate that immigrants are in fact more likely to work in risky jobs than U.S.-born workers, partly due to differences in average characteristics, such as immigrants’ lower English-language ability and educational attainment.


Injury Rate Undocumented Immigrant English Ability High Injury Rate Fatal Occupational Injury 
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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia M. Orrenius
    • 1
  • Madeline Zavodny
    • 2
  1. 1.Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and IZADallas
  2. 2.Agnes Scott College and IZAUSA

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