Immigrants in Maryland

June 9, 2020

Maryland has a large immigrant community, with many individuals hailing from El Salvador. Roughly one in seven Maryland residents was born in another country, while one in eight is a native-born American who has at least one immigrant parent. Immigrants support Maryland’s economy across sectors: nearly a third of all Maryland healthcare support workers, for example, are immigrants, as are more than a third of the state’s building maintenance workers and groundskeepers. As neighbors, business owners, taxpayers, and workers, immigrants are an integral part of Maryland’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

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

  • In 2018, 915,191 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 15 percent of the population.
  • Maryland was home to 451,208 women, 408,820 men, and 55,163 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were El Salvador (11 percent of immigrants), India (6 percent), China (5 percent), Nigeria (5 percent), and the Philippines (4 percent).
  • In 2018, 760,379 people in Maryland (13 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

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

  • 489,731 immigrants (54 percent) had naturalized as of 2018, and 146,228 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
  • More than four in five (83 percent) immigrants 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 (43 percent) adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2018, while roughly one in five (19 percent) had less than a high school diploma.

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

43

40

Some college

19

27

High school diploma only

19

26

Less than a high school diploma

19

7

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.

Over 126,000 U.S. citizens in Maryland live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 275,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 29 percent of the immigrant population and 5 percent of the total state population in 2016.
  • 289,091 people in Maryland, including 126,383 U.S. citizens, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, about 7 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (88,150 children in total).

Maryland is home to thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

  • 8,020 active DACA recipients lived in Maryland as of 2019, while DACA has been granted to 30,888 people in total since 2012.
  • As of 2019, 38 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Maryland had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 5,000 residents of the state would satisfy all but the educational requirements for DACA, and fewer than a thousand would become eligible as they grew older.

One in five workers in Maryland is an immigrant, together making up a vital part of the state’s labor force in a range of industries.

  • 646,170 immigrant workers comprised 20 percent of the labor force in 2018. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

119,261

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

75,786

Construction

75,266

Accommodation and Food Services

69,572

Retail Trade

60,993

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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

30

Accommodation and Food Services

26

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

24

Other Services (except Public Administration)

24

Health Care and Social Assistance

23

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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 2018, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Construction and Extraction

59,287

Management

59,235

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical

54,025

Office and Administrative Support

53,525

Sales and Related

52,001

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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

35

Life, Physical, and Social Science

34

Construction and Extraction

34

Healthcare Support

32

Food Preparation and Serving Related

26

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 6 percent of Maryland’s workforce in 2016.

Immigrants in Maryland have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

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

  • Maryland residents in immigrant-led households had $27.6 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2018.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Maryland generate nearly $2 billion in business revenue.

  • 66,350 immigrant business owners accounted for 23 percent of all self-employed Maryland residents in 2018 and generated $1.7 billion in business income.
  • In 2018, immigrants accounted for 31 percent of business owners in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (encompassing D.C. and parts of Maryland and Virginia), and 18 percent in the Baltimore/Towson/Columbia metro area.

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