Immigrants in Maryland

October 16, 2017

Maryland has a large immigrant community, much of which emigrated from El Salvador. Roughly 15 percent of all Maryland residents were born in another country, while 11 percent are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. Immigrants support Maryland’s economy across sectors: a quarter of all Maryland healthcare practitioners, for example, are immigrants, as are nearly 42 percent of the state’s building maintenance workers and groundskeepers. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Maryland’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

More than one in seven Maryland residents is an immigrant, while one in nine is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 911,582 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 15.2 percent of the state’s population.
  • Maryland was home to 437,740 women, 410,928 men, and 62,914 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were El Salvador (13.2 percent of immigrants), India (6.8 percent), China (4.6 percent), Mexico (4.5 percent), and Nigeria (4.4 percent).
  • In 2016, 664,582 people in Maryland (11.3 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Nearly half of all immigrants in Maryland are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 447,550 immigrants (49.1 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 157,705 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • Nearly four in five immigrants (79.5 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Most immigrants in Maryland have pursued education at or above the college level.

  • More than two in five adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while one in five had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

42.0

38.0

Some college

17.9

27.6

High school diploma only

19.1

26.5

Less than a high-school diploma

20.9

7.9

More than 125,000 U.S. citizens in Maryland live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 250,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 27 percent of the immigrant population and 4.2 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 289,091 people in Maryland, including 99,846 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 7 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (88,150 children in total).

More than 8,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Maryland.

  • As of 2016, 48 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Maryland, or 11,513 people, had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 6,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and another 4,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

Immigrants are vital to Maryland’s labor force across industries, accounting for nearly one in five workers in the state.

  • 629,362 immigrant workers comprised 19.6 percent of the labor force in 2015. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

106,680

Accommodation and Food Services

76,228

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

70,598

Construction

70,120

Retail Trade

60,106

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following industries:

Industry

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all industry workers)

Construction

28.2

Accommodation and Food Services

27.2

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

26.8

Other Services (except Public Administration)

23.5

Health Care and Social Assistance

22.1

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants are an integral part of the Maryland workforce in a range of occupations.

  • In 2015, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Construction and Extraction

61,039

Management

60,072

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

59,224

Office and Administrative Support

57,253

Food Preparation and Serving Related

54,372

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all workers in occupation)

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

41.6

Life, Physical, and Social Sciences

36.6

Construction and Extraction

34.4

Food Preparation and Serving Related

25.4

Healthcare Practitioners, Technologists, and Technicians

24.5

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 5.9 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Maryland contribute billions of dollars in yearly taxes.

As consumers, immigrants add hundreds of billions of dollars to Maryland’s economy.

  • Marylanders in immigrant-led households had $24.6 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs represent almost a fifth of Maryland business owners, generating more than a billion dollars in combined annual revenue.

  • 67,580 immigrant business owners accounted for 23.8 percent of all self-employed Maryland residents in 2015 and generated $1.5 billion in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 50.7 percent of business owners in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (encompassing D.C. and parts of Maryland and Virginia), and 38.6 percent in the Baltimore/Towson/Columbia metro area.

    Most Read

    • Publications
    • Blog Posts
    • Past:
    • Trending