Brookings Institution


D.C.-Area Immigrants: Highly-Skilled and Over-Qualified

In the D.C.-area, there are many more high-skilled immigrant workers than low-skilled immigrants. This is according to a new report by the Brookings Institution, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data. It found that locally, there are 189 high-skilled immigrants for every 100 low-skilled immigrants.

The data examines the D.C.-area as including parts of Maryland, Virginia and (for some reason) West Virginia. And out of all of the post-World War II immigration gateways, the D.C.-area is the only one with a high immigrant skills ratio. Los Angeles, one of the other post-World War II gateways, has 62 high-skilled immigrant workers for every 100 low-skilled immigrants.

But having more skills doesn’t necessarily translate into higher wages — the report also found that many of these high-skilled immigrant workers are overqualified for the jobs they hold. The same holds true locally. For instance, many low-wage earning South Asians immigrants in D.C. hold graduate or professional degrees.
DC Immigrants