Back ] Home ] Next ]

Demographics of the Typical H-1B

Who They Are and Where They Come From

Photo Courtesy of

American Engineering Association

 

The occupations that H-1Bs are hired for varies. The table below shows that the jobs they fill are spread among many white collar professions. This data was taken from DOL Report Number: 06-96-002-03-321  or other reliable sources.

 

Types of Jobs H-1Bs  Take From US Citizens                                  
Occupation Percent of Applications LCA Application Wage Range
Maximum Minimum Average
Education 11.2% 150,000 9,200 30,051
Engineering 13.5%

124,000

16,640 39,410
HealthRelated 11.0% 180,000 20,532 37,941
Managerial/Financial 6.6% 165,000 16.500 65,033
Other 22.7% 156,000 13,200 45,020
Overall $165,000 $9,200 $40,870

 

Source for the Numbers of H-1Bs is from Immigration Attorney Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., Chairman Amer. Council on Int'l Personnel Testimony, U.S. House of Representatives
Numbers of H-1B Workers in the U.S.

Fiscal Year

H-1B Visas Per Year

Total H-1B Visas in

1992

  57,125

  57,125

1993

  61,591

 118,716

1994

  60,179

 178,895

1995

  54,718

 233,613

1996

  55,141

 288,754

1997

  65,000

 353,754

1998

  65,000

 418,754

1999

 120,000

 538,754

2000

 115,000

 653,754

 

 

Here are the Top 10 countries of origin for the first half of FY 1999 according to the INS.
Nationalities of   H-1Bs                 
Country of Origin Percentage of H-1Bs
India 46%
China    10%   
Canada    4%
Philippines 3%
Taiwan    2%
Korea   2%
Japan     2%
United  Kingdom     2%
Pakistan    2%
Russia    2%

 

Demographic Characteristics
Most H-1Bs are young, males, and concentrated in a few states. IT immigrants are much more likely to be from Asia.

Among native IT workers, 28 percent are women. Fewer foreign-born IT specialists are female, 22 percent.

The average age of foreign-born IT workers is 35 years, fully three years younger than the native-born average of 38 years. Seventy-five percent of foreign-born IT workers are under the age of 40; only 58 percent of native IT workers are in these younger age groups. In fact, foreign-born IT workers are younger than other foreign-born persons outside the information technology fields; nearly a third of the foreign-born people in the IT workforce are under the age of 30, compared to just under a quarter of the foreign-born persons in the rest of the labor force. Perhaps those in information technology are younger because of the nature of IT work, and because many foreign-origin IT workers are employed right out of U.S. colleges and universities, while many immigrants without high tech skills must stand in line for sponsorship by family members in the United States.

 

Age Distributions of Persons With Core IT Jobs,
by Nativity and Citizenship Status
Age Groups 1998: Current
Population Survey Data
Native
Born
Foreign
Born
16-29
30-39
40-54

55 and Older
22%
36
36

6
30%
45
23

3
All IT Workers 100% 101%
Mean Age 38 35

 

The racial and ethnic composition of the foreign-born IT labor force is radically different than that of the native-born. Native workers are mostly non-Hispanic whites, while foreign-born workers are predominately Asian with a strong representation of non-Hispanic whites.
Race/Ethnicity of People
With IT Jobs, by Nativity
Group Native
Born
Foreign
Born
White Non-Hispanic
Black
Hispanic
Asian
87%
8
3
2
30%
4
10
55
All IT Workers 100% 99%
Source: CPS. Components may not sum to totals
because of rounding
.

 

California leads the states in IT employment generally, and its concentration of foreign-born IT workers is higher yet; almost a fifth of them live there. Another fifth are split evenly between New York and Illinois.
Leading States of
Residence for People
With IT Jobs, by Nativity
Nativity
and States
Percent
I. Native Born:
California
Texas
Virginia
Pennsylvania
Illinois
New York

Total, Top Six States

II. Foreign Born:
California
New York
Illinois
Virginia
Florida
Massachusetts

Total, Top Six States


12.5%
7.5
5.5
5.0
5.0
4.5

40%


19.0%
11.0
11.0
7.5
6.5
5.5

60.5%

Source: CPS. Components may not sum to totals
because of rounding.

 

A little over a quarter of the foreign born report having come to the U.S. during the 1990's; another third report immigrating in the 1980's.
Year of Arrival of
Foreign-Born IT Workers
Year of Arrival Percent
1990-1998
1980-1989
1970-1979
1969 or earlier
29%
34
27
10
All Foreign-Born IT Workers 100%
Source: CPS. Components may not sum to totals
because of rounding.

 

40 percent of the foreign-born IT workers have completed a masters or higher degree.
Education of Persons With Core IT Jobs,
by Nativity and Citizenship Status
Degrees Completed 1998: Current
Population Survey Data
Native
Born
Foreign
Born
High School
Associate/Vocational
Bachelor's Degree
Master's or Higher
7%
29

48
15
4%
11

45
40
All IT Workers 100% 100%

 

Foreign-born workers have become a significant source of labor for the U.S. information technology industry. Only about 10 percent of the world's annual output of high-tech bachelor's degrees comes from this country,
Years of Education and IT
Occupations, by Nativity
Occupation Native
Born
Foreign
Born
Years of Education, for:

Computer Scientists,
Computer Engineers,
& Systems Analysts

Programmers




15.4


14.9



16.9


15.8
Source: CPS; sample sizes are too small to support estimates
from data on degree completions. These are rough estimates
based on imputing category means and approximate years
needed to complete degrees.

 

09/17/00