Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Americans Aren't So Worried About Immigrants Taking Their Jobs


The attitude of voters about immigration and jobs is a lot more nuanced than the current election campaign might have you believe. 

Just ten years ago, people were about twice as likely to say immigrants to the U.S. were hurting American workers (55 percent) as helping (28 percent). Today, they are almost evenly split (45 percent to 42 percent), according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted in association with the Markle Foundation.

Democrats were 28 percentage points more likely to say that immigrants were "helpful" compared to in 2006, followed by those without a high school degree (25 points) and 30-to-49 year-olds (20 points). Republicans, meanwhile, were the only group that became more pessimistic. 

Immigration & jobs

"There's been a shift among people who identify as Republicans in their sense that immigrants are not as good for the country and the culture as they might've thought, or their parents might've thought a generation ago," explained Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research at Pew Research Center, pointing to previous work done by the organization.

For many Americans, immigration is something they'll actually need to embrace, with 85 percent saying an ability to work with people of different backgrounds is either extremely or very important to succeed in today's economy. 

More than three-quarters of those surveyed said outsourcing and imports are hurting American workers, likely contributing to an acknowledged skills gap. 

Job Threats

Employers' increasing reliance on temporary and contract workers—likely driven by the on-demand economy—came in third, with 57 percent saying it's a harm to workers. And while the Internet may be a clear benefit, half of Americans are worried about the automation of jobs. So beware the robots.

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