Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Immigrants in California's labor force: Active, entrepreneurial, and sometimes over-skilled

The California Immigrant Policy Center and the University of Southern California have released a new report indicating, as other recent data has, that California's immigrants are largely here to stay, with a majority of the state's foreign born having lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.

Immigrants also make up a large chunk of the state's labor force, 34 percent of it. And while they continue to make up the bulk of those employed in farming, fishing and forestry, and are still heavily represented in custodial, food service and other service-related jobs, they are also more likely than their native-born peers to be self-employed or start a business. Foreign born workers are also more likely to be over-skilled or over-educated for the jobs they hold.

A bit on their workforce participation, from the report:

Immigrants participate in the labor force at higher rates than non-immigrants, with 61% of immigrants and 57% of non-immigrants over age 16 employed in California. For Latino and Asian men, this difference is even greater. About 82% of all Latino and Asian immigrant men of working age (25-64) are employed, compared with 74% of U.S. born Latino and Asian men.

In California, immigrants are entrepreneurial and are more likely to create their own jobs (or be self- employed) than native born workers. For the working age population (age 25 to 64) Latino and Asian immigrants both have a self-employment rate of
12%, which is higher than the rates for non-immigrant Latinos
and Asians (7% and 8%, respectively). This relative difference in entrepreneurship persists across education levels (for those with and without a Bachelor"s degree or higher).

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