News Release

Adult Children of Immigrants Make Outsized Contributions to the U.S. Health Care Workforce

Adult children of immigrants make up a disproportionately large share of physicians, surgeons and other health care practitioners in the U.S. — just one reflection of their comparatively high employment, educational attainment and income levels, according to a new KFF analysis.

The analysis of 2023 Current Population Survey data shows that U.S.-born nonelderly adults whose parents were both born outside the U.S. comprise 13% of physicians, surgeons, and other health care practitioners. That amounts to more than twice their share of the working age population (6%). 

The data show that the adult children of immigrants have higher educational attainment compared to their peers with U.S.-born parents. Forty-five percent of nonelderly adult children of immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 40% of adults with at least one U.S.-born parent. 

Adult children of immigrants also are somewhat more likely to have higher incomes, with 39% living in households with an annual income of $90,000 or more. In comparison, about one in three (36%) of nonelderly adults with at least one U.S.-born parent live in higher income households.

Other key findings include: 

  • Three in four (76%) nonelderly adult children of immigrants are employed, accounting for 6% of the nonelderly adult workforce, similar to their share of the nonelderly adult population (6%). The rate is higher among adult children of immigrants between the ages of 25 and 64, who are less likely to be students, with 81% of this group working compared to 78% of their peers with at least one U.S.-born parent. 
  •  Nonelderly adult children of immigrants are less likely than those with U.S.-born parents to have private health coverage (67% vs. 76%) and more likely to be uninsured (13% vs. 8%). Their higher uninsured rate may reflect that they are more likely to be working in some industries like construction, food services, and transportation, which may be less likely to offer health coverage.

The full analysis, “The Role of Adult Children of Immigrants in the U.S. Health Care Workforce”, is available at

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.