Immigrants in Oregon

September 15, 2017

Oregon has a sizeable community of immigrants, many of whom hail from Mexico. Roughly 10 percent of all Oregon residents are foreign-born, while over 12 percent are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. More than a third of Oregon’s farmers, fishers, and foresters are immigrants, as are nearly 23 percent of all production employees. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Oregon’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

One in 10 Oregon residents is an immigrant, while about one in eight residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 397,293 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 9.9 percent of the population.
  • Oregon was home to 191,777 women, 180,488 men, and 25,028 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (37 percent of immigrants), China (6 percent), Vietnam (5.2 percent), India (4.1 percent), and Canada (3.6 percent).
  • In 2016, 498,875 people in Oregon (12.4 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

More than a third of all immigrants in Oregon are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 167,977 immigrants (42.3 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 82,341 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • Almost three-quarters (73.2 percent) of immigrants reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Oregon are concentrated at both ends of the educational spectrum.

  • More than a quarter of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while nearly a third had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

28.2

32.7

Some college

20.2

36.5

High school diploma only

19.6

23.9

Less than a high-school diploma

32.0

7.0

Nearly 90,000 U.S. citizens in Oregon live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 130,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 32 percent of the immigrant population and 3.2 percent of the total state population in 2015.
  • 186,460 people in Oregon, including 80,451 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 1 in 12 children in the state was a U.S.-citizen child living with at least one undocumented family member (71,208 children in total).

More than 11,000 Oregon residents have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • As of 2016, 82 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Oregon, or 12,049 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.  

One in eight workers in Oregon is an immigrant, together making up an essential share of the state’s labor force across industries.

  • 260,001 immigrant workers comprised 12.8 percent of the labor force in 2015.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Manufacturing

51,265

Accommodation and Food Services

36,540

Health Care and Social Assistance

35,260

Retail Trade

23,826

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

22,039

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)

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

25.8

Manufacturing

19.7

Accommodation and Food Services

18.4

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

17.6

Management of Companies and Enterprises

16.3

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 Oregon workforce in a range of occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Production

32,818

Food Preparation and Serving Related

27,957

Management

24,891

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

24,571

Sales and Related

19,375

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)

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

39.5

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

25.2

Production

22.7

Computer and Mathematical Sciences

18.3

Food Preparation and Serving Related

17.5

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 4.8 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Oregon have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

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

  • Oregon residents in immigrant-led households had $7.4 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Oregon generate hundreds of millions in business revenue.

  • 28,567 immigrant business owners accounted for 11.2 percent of all self-employed Oregon residents in 2015 and generated $470.6 million in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 23.2 percent of business owners in the Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton metropolitan area, which spans Oregon and Washington.

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending