Very low wage workers by country of origin

Workforce figures show the distribution of very low wage workers between native and foreign born.

As of 2015, 33% of the 140 million native-born American workforce earned less than $20,000 a year. Among foreign born workers, the percentage was the same, 33%. But the share differs greatly by country of origin.

Among Mexican-born workers, 42% earned less than $20,000. Among Asian workers, 26% earned under $20,000.

Put another way, Mexican born workers made up 6% of the entire workforce paid under $20,000 a year but made up 4.6% of the entire domestic workforce. Asian born workers made up 3.4% of the under $20,000 workforce but 4.3% of the total workforce.

These figures cover over the fact that low wage foreign born workers due in part to language problems, in part to undocumented status, concentrate in jobs removed from public contact, such as kitchen, warehouse, farming, housekeeping and low-level construction work.

As of 2015, the total foreign-born workforce stood at 27.6 million, or 16.4% of the entire workforce. The entire foreign-born population was 13% of the entire population.

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