HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii is home to more than a quarter of a million immigrants who play a vital role to expanding Hawaii’s workforce and supporting the state’s economy. Immigrants make up approximately 18% of our entire population, according to New American Economy, a bipartisan research organization.

Key findings from the 2021 publication show where immigrants are coming from and how they are important to industries that are essential to Hawaii’s economy.

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Using data from the 5-year 2018 American Community Survey, as well as qualitative policy data from the NAE Cities Index, here are the biggest sources of immigrants to Hawaii.

#1. Philippines

– Number of immigrants: 117,100
– Share of immigrants: 45.8%

#2. Japan

– Number of immigrants: 21,500
– Share of immigrants: 8.4%

#3. China

– Number of immigrants: 20,000
– Share of immigrants: 7.8%

#4. Korea

– Number of immigrants: 17,900
– Share of immigrants: 7%

#5. Micronesia

– Number of immigrants: 11,600
– Share of immigrants: 4.6%

#6. Vietnam

– Number of immigrants: 10,000
– Share of immigrants: 3.9%

#7. Mexico

– Number of immigrants: 5,600
– Share of immigrants: 2.2%

#8. Marshall Islands

– Number of immigrants: 5,500
– Share of immigrants: 2.2%

#9. Canada

– Number of immigrants: 4,200
– Share of immigrants: 1.6%

#10. Hong Kong

– Number of immigrants: 3,900
– Share of immigrants: 1.5%

Overall, more than half (56.7%) of immigrants in Hawaii are naturalized U.S. citizens.

WHERE IMMIGRANTS ARE WORKING

When it comes to the labor force, immigrants account for prominent industries. For example, immigrants make up over 68% of Hawaii’s housekeepers and over 50% of the state’s chefs and head cooks.

Here’s a look at major occupations with higher shares of immigrant workers using data from 2018.

  • 68.1% housekeeping cleaners
  • 50.2% chefs and head cooks
  • 47.1% nursing assistants
  • 43.7% landscapers and groundskeepers
  • 39.6% food preparation workers
  • 38.9% cooks
  • 38.3% food service managers
  • 32.2% cashiers
  • 32.1% accountants and auditors
  • 32.1% janitors and building cleaners
  • 31.3% supervisors of retail sales workers
  • 30.8% security guards and gaming surveillance officers
  • 25.9% retail salespersons
  • 25.3% laborers and material movers
  • 23.4% registered nurses
  • 21.9% construction laborers
  • 21.6% stockers and order fillers
  • 21% carpenters
  • 20.5% drivers and sales workers
  • 20.3% bookkeeping and accounting clerks
  • 20.1% physicians
  • 19.5% supervisors of office and administrative support workers
  • 19.3% customer service representatives
  • 19.2% office clerks

TOP 3 INDUSTRIES IN HAWAII FOR IMMIGRANT WORKERS BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

PHILIPPINES

  • Tourism, Entertainment, Hospitality – 27.6%
  • Healthcare and Social Services – 15.1%
  • Retail Trade – 13%

JAPAN

  • Tourism, Entertainment, Hospitality – 21%
  • Professional and Technical Services – 20.2%
  • Retail Trade – 12.4%

CHINA

  • Tourism, Entertainment, Hospitality – 33.4%
  • Retail Trade – 12.6%
  • Construction – 7.8%

KOREA

  • Tourism, Entertainment, Hospitality – 18.8%
  • Retail Trade – 15.5%
  • Healthcare and Social Services – 11.8%

Among the four largest countries of origin for immigrants in Hawaii, the data shows that the most popular industry was the tourism, entertainment and hospitality sector. Workers from all four countries were also concentrated in the retail trade business.

The data reveals differences in which industries had the top earners and distribution of workers between men and women. Most immigrant men worked in construction and transportation, while the women worked more in healthcare, social services and educational services.

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In this report, immigrant is defined as anyone born outside the country to non-American parents who resides in America, including naturalized citizens, green card holders, temporary visa holders, refugees, asylees, COFA migrants and undocumented immigrants. To see the full report, click here.