Immigrant Workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry
Date of Publication:
Immigrant Learning Center
Foreign-born and foreign-trained workers and professionals are increasingly a vital share of the labor force in health care and its allied sub-sectors. In 2000, 1.7 million foreign-born workers (immigrants) accounted for 11.7 percent of all health care workers in the U.S. This includes non-medical personnel and maintenance workers who do not necessarily deliver health services but whose work highly influences the quality of care. The share of foreign-born workers in direct health care service provision was higher: 13 percent. Overall, foreign-born workers make up 12.4 percent of foreign-born workers in the total U.S. labor force. During the 1990s, the employment of foreign-born workers grew by 114 percent in home health care, 72 percent in nursing care and 32 percent in hospitals. Nationally, an examination of some 22 health care occupations shows that foreign-born workers are not spread evenly. Instead, they are heavily concentrated in three occupations that employ 65 percent of all foreign-born immigrant workers: Registered Nurses (22 percent), lower-skilled Nursing Aides (27 percent) and Physicians (16 percent).
Ramon Borges-Mendez, James Jennings, Donna Haig Friedman, Malo Hutson, and Teresa Eliot RobertsImmigrant Learning CenterMarch 2009