These Are The Most Common Jobs by Ancestry in America

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Study - 1 year ago
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ancestry

If you ask twenty Americans of seemingly the same background about their ancestry, there’s a decent chance you’ll get twenty different answers.

For some people, their ancestry is their race or ethnic background — for others, it’s the country their ancestors were from — for others still, it’s the country that they themselves were either born in or have otherwise come to call home.

Ancestry isn’t the same as race, which is often a series of assumptions made based on a person’s skin color or external appearance by the people around them. Although the two are often related, ancestry is more of an individual choice of what parts of their background or family history that they choose (or are able to) remember — and, in the case of the US Census, it’s also self-reported, which can lead to some interesting answers.

Given the fact that so much of ancestry is up to individual choice, we were curious if anyone from the same ancestral background had anything in common at all, specifically in terms of the careers that they’ve chosen to spend their lives doing. So we took a look at the American Community Survey’s data for each reported ancestry and found out what the most common job was for each background.

You’ll find the full list of all ancestries and their most common jobs at the end of the article, but first let’s take a look at the top twenty options and talk a little bit about the data itself.

most common jobs by ancestry graph

Click to enlarge

So What Do We See?

In the chart above, you’ll find the top 20 ancestries whose most commonly listed job also represented the largest percentages of their overall population in relation to the other ancestries in our data.

All of the data in this chart and in the table below was found in the American Community Survey’s Public Use Microdata Sample, or PUMS. This particular data is from the 2016 PUMS data set, which was originally released on October 19, 2017, so it’s about as fresh as you can get.

A link to the 5-year PUMS data used in this chart can be found here.

As you can see, the most common options for pretty much every reported ancestry include service positions like taxi and truck drivers, chauffeurs, personal appearance workers, cashiers, and others. On the full list, the top job is Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents, which is kind of a hilarious mouthful.

But in the top twenty seen above, a slight majority of ancestries lean toward the nursing side of things, with those of Ugandan, Sierra Leonean, and Liberian ancestry all listing their employment as Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides.

Interestingly, looking at data as a whole, there’s almost an inverse relationship between how many responders there are for each ancestry (which is not represented in the chart) and what percentage of those responders share the most common job for that ancestry. The relationship isn’t perfectly inverse, but the tendency is there.

This begs a few different questions — namely, why is this occurring? Are people with certain positions more likely to report their ancestries in the census than others are? Or is it that the smaller a minority, the fewer job opportunities there are for that minority in whatever country they live in?

From the limited data we have, it’s tough to tell. But there are a few other points from this data that are worth addressing.

You see, ancestries for the census are self-reported, which can sometimes lead to some confusion between different respondents (to say the least). What kind of confusion, you ask? Well…

St Lucia Islander — Social Workers

Percent of this Ancestry with Most Common Job: 7.79%
As far as Google seems to be aware, the term “St Lucia Islander” isn’t strongly associated with a particular ethnic group — it appears to just be denoting anyone from St Lucia Island. It’s very possible that this writer is just unaware of the term St Lucia Islander being the common name for native citizens from the island — it’s also possible that people of all ethnic backgrounds who come from St Lucia make use of the term.

Either way it’s interesting that this group’s most common job is Social Worker, given that the little island itself is barely over 200 square miles in total area.

Scotch Irish — Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents

Percent of this Ancestry with Most Common Job: 3.37%
Scotch Irish is a largely American term for the Irish people of Ulster, the Irish region closest to Scotland, who emigrated to America in large numbers in the early 1800s. The Scotch Irish for the most part came to America for reasons of religious freedom — the term was mostly used to differentiate these settlers from the later Irish immigrants who came from all over Ireland due to the Irish Potato Famine.

There are a lot of different and interesting countries of ancestry on this list, so this particular entry would not be all that interesting on its own were it not for our following entry on this list.

Irish Scotch — Elementary And Middle School Teachers

Percent of this Ancestry with Most Common Job: 3.49%
Yeah, so…this is the same. It’s the same thing. We can’t stress enough that these ancestries are self-reported, and that people, on the whole, are morons.

Scotch Irish is already a fairly meaningless term, as most of these people have no actual Scottish ancestry. What’s more, people outside of America (the Irish included) don’t even use the distinction — it’s just us. Which makes it doubly stupid that this item shows up twice on our list.

Not to mention the fact that the top job for Scotch Irish is Miscellaneous Manager, while the top job for Irish Scotch is Elementary and Middle School Teacher.

Appalachian — First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers

Percent of this Ancestry with Most Common Job: 4.78%
Much as with the St Lucia Islander, we took a double take with this one. Sure, it looks incorrect at first glance — the Appalachians these days are a region largely made up of white immigrants, after all — but it’s entirely possible that this is just a Native American group of whose existence we weren’t aware.

But the Native American tribes of the greater Appalachian region are actually fairly well documented. They include groups as diverse as Cherokee, Muskogee, Algonquin, Monangahela, Melungeon — but members of these groups usually self-identify as being either from one of these specific tribes or as just being “Native American.” But in either case, the term “Appalachian” is rarely if ever used by these groups as a primary identifier.

Which means that, given that the largest ethnic group in Appalachia today are in fact the Scotch Irish, this is most likely their fault once again.

Americans — Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers

Percent of this Ancestry with Most Common Job: 2.98%
We know what you’re thinking. The people who report that they’re “Americans” could be a perfectly diverse group of people, all of whom are so wonderfully proud to have been born in the good old US of A that they just felt compelled to list that as their ancestry in the census.

That’s definitely one way to read the data, as a hopeful expression of the kind of multicultural unity that’s possible in a melting pot country like America.

But an extraordinary amount of these respondents are white, and the majority of them come from the deep south — a significant enough amount that it’s hard to ignore some of the implications of this.

Now, there’s still the option that respondents in this category simply don’t know where their families have come from — after all, many American families immigrated here so long ago that they might not have kept track of where exactly their families originated. That’s a perfectly logical interpretation.

Then there’s the more cynical possibility that those reporting themselves as “Americans” are in fact white nativists trying to make a political statement about who should or should not have the right to live in this country.

The last — and potentially most damning — possibility is that this is the Scotch Irish yet again, a notion that fills me with a righteous fury.

Wrapping Up

That’s all for now! Below you’ll find a table of all US Census ancestries and their most common occupations, but there’s more to see here at Zippia.

No matter your own current position, you can search for jobs yourself using our official search page at Zippia.com.

Or are you looking for more articles like this one? Here’s a look at which US states have the highest (and lowest) divorce rates in the nation.

Full Table of the Most Common Jobs by Ancestry

Ancestry Occupation Percent
Afghan Retail Salespersons 7.83%
African Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 3.87%
African American Cashiers 4.05%
Afro Physicians And Surgeons 7.63%
Afro American Unemployed And Last Worked 5 Years Ago Or Never Worked 4.05%
Albanian Janitors And Building Cleaners 4.72%
Aleut Cashiers 11.75%
Algerian Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs 5.11%
Alsatian Chief Executives And Legislators 8.56%
American Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 2.98%
American Indian Cashiers 3.34%
Anglo Elementary And Middle School Teachers 4.34%
Antigua and Barbuda Carpenters 6.81%
Appalachian First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 4.78%
Arab Cashiers 6.64%
Arabic Cashiers 6.98%
Argentinean Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.11%
Armenian Retail Salespersons 3.69%
Asian Registered Nurses 4.71%
Asian Indian Software Developers, Applications And Systems Software 12.57%
Assyrian Personal Care Aides 5.51%
Australian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.98%
Austrian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.92%
Bahamian First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 4.52%
Bangladeshi Cashiers 12.98%
Barbadian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 6.64%
Basque Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.29%
Belgian Secretaries And Administrative Assistants 3.95%
Belizean Cashiers 5.40%
Belorussian Software Developers, Applications And Systems Software 7.04%
Bengali Cashiers 11.70%
Bhutanese Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 13.37%
Black Cashiers 4.25%
Bohemian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.11%
Bolivian Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 8.72%
Bosnian and Herzegovinian Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 6.19%
Brazilian Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 11.18%
British Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.04%
British Isles Postsecondary Teachers 4.46%
British West Indian Cooks 7.61%
Bulgarian Accountants And Auditors 5.32%
Burmese Butchers And Other Meat, Poultry, And Fish Processing Workers 9.01%
Cajun Elementary And Middle School Teachers 4.11%
Cambodian Cashiers 5.51%
Cameroonian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 7.61%
Canadian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.59%
Cantonese Waiters And Waitresses 9.15%
Cape Verdean Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 8.10%
Celtic Cashiers 4.17%
Central American Secretaries And Administrative Assistants 5.61%
Central American Indian Sewing Machine Operators 4.44%
Central European Postsecondary Teachers 9.55%
Chaldean First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 9.14%
Chamorro First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 4.95%
Cherokee Cashiers 3.80%
Chicano Cooks 4.54%
Chilean Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.70%
Chinese Postsecondary Teachers 3.79%
Colombian Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 4.10%
Congolese Cashiers 8.21%
Costa Rican Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 4.18%
Creole Cashiers 3.66%
Croatian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.34%
Cuban Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 4.77%
Czech Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.89%
Czechoslovakian Elementary And Middle School Teachers 4.64%
Danish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.21%
Dominican Janitors And Building Cleaners 5.03%
Dutch Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.18%
Dutch West Indian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 6.54%
East Indian Secretaries And Administrative Assistants 4.42%
Eastern European Lawyers, And Judges, Magistrates, And Other Judicial Workers 4.74%
Ecuadorian Construction Laborers 4.70%
Egyptian Physicians And Surgeons 4.43%
English Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.51%
Eritrean Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs 12.44%
Eskimo Electricians 6.66%
Estonian Dental Hygienists 6.09%
Ethiopian Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs 10.31%
Eurasian Postsecondary Teachers 6.37%
European Elementary And Middle School Teachers 4.02%
Fijian Personal Care Aides 15.59%
Filipino Registered Nurses 9.00%
Finnish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.62%
Flemish Miscellaneous Installation, Maintenance, And Repair Workers, Including Wind Turbine Service Technicians 8.73%
French Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 2.98%
French Canadian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.22%
Georgia CIS Construction Managers 11.55%
German Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.14%
German Russian Personal Care And Service Workers, All Other 4.36%
Germanic Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.29%
Ghanaian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 8.80%
Greek Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.66%
Grenadian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 8.52%
Guamanian Stock Clerks And Order Fillers 7.43%
Guatemalan Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 6.92%
Guyanese Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 7.70%
Haitian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 10.10%
Hawaiian Retail Salespersons 3.36%
Hispanic Cashiers 3.57%
Hmong Miscellaneous Assemblers And Fabricators 5.77%
Honduran Construction Laborers 8.50%
Hungarian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.57%
Icelander Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.95%
Indian Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 4.12%
Indonesian Chefs And Head Cooks 5.62%
Iranian Retail Salespersons 4.84%
Iraqi Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 6.54%
Irish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.15%
Irish Scotch Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.49%
Israeli Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 5.53%
Italian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.43%
Jamaican Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 8.42%
Japanese Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.57%
Jordanian Cashiers 9.82%
Kenyan Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 7.86%
Korean First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 3.67%
Kurdish Janitors And Building Cleaners 6.18%
Laotian Miscellaneous Assemblers And Fabricators 5.18%
Latin Janitors And Building Cleaners 4.09%
Latin American Miscellaneous Assemblers And Fabricators 7.18%
Latino Construction Laborers 3.67%
Latvian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.49%
Lebanese Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.47%
Liberian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 14.19%
Lithuanian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.68%
Luxemburger Bookkeeping, Accounting, And Auditing Clerks 4.78%
Macedonian Janitors And Building Cleaners 8.05%
Malaysian Butchers And Other Meat, Poultry, And Fish Processing Workers 4.88%
Maltese Retail Salespersons 4.59%
Marshallese Cashiers 12.37%
Mexican Cooks 3.62%
Mexican American Cashiers 4.68%
Mexican American Indian Cashiers 4.86%
Mexican Indian Janitors And Building Cleaners 4.33%
Mexican State Construction Laborers 5.94%
Mexicano Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 5.65%
Micronesian Cooks 9.95%
Mideast First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 5.03%
Mixture Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.36%
Moldavian Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 8.15%
Mongolian Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 9.14%
Montenegrin Property, Real Estate, And Community Association Managers 17.77%
Moroccan Retail Salespersons 5.22%
Native American Cashiers 3.37%
Negro Personal Care Aides 5.73%
Nepali Cashiers 7.05%
New Zealander Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 6.43%
Nicaraguan Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 5.58%
Nigerian Registered Nurses 9.46%
North African Waiters And Waitresses 6.13%
North American First-Line Supervisors Of Office And Administrative Support Workers 3.87%
Northern European Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.40%
Norwegian Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.37%
Not reported Cashiers 2.96%
Okinawan Fishing And Hunting Workers 4.61%
Other Arab Elementary And Middle School Teachers 5.40%
Other Asian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 5.69%
Other groups Postsecondary Teachers 4.59%
Other Pacific Cashiers 8.65%
Other responses Lawyers, And Judges, Magistrates, And Other Judicial Workers 4.06%
Other Subsaharan African Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 7.00%
Other West Indian Registered Nurses 4.26%
Pacific Islander Customer Service Representatives 5.21%
Pakistani Cashiers 6.85%
Palestinian Cashiers 7.37%
Panamanian Janitors And Building Cleaners 3.37%
Paraguayan Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 8.77%
Pennsylvania German Farmers, Ranchers, And Other Agricultural Managers 3.28%
Peruvian Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 3.69%
Polish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.31%
Polynesian Customer Service Representatives 8.42%
Portuguese Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 2.82%
Prussian Registered Nurses 4.04%
Puerto Rican Cashiers 3.84%
Punjabi Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 14.42%
Rom Laborers And Freight, Stock, And Material Movers, Hand 6.16%
Romanian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.20%
Russian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.50%
Salvadoran Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 7.15%
Samoan Laborers And Freight, Stock, And Material Movers, Hand 5.89%
Saudi Arabian Postsecondary Teachers 10.76%
Scandinavian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.67%
Scotch Irish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.37%
Scottish Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.88%
Senegalese Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs 21.27%
Serbian Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 4.24%
Sicilian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.37%
Sierra Leonean Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 14.30%
Slavic Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.89%
Slavonian Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, And Weighers 17.50%
Slovak Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.93%
Slovene Elementary And Middle School Teachers 4.27%
Somali Laborers And Freight, Stock, And Material Movers, Hand 7.44%
South African Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 7.33%
South American Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.77%
South American Indian Other Teachers And Instructors 10.92%
Southern European Elementary And Middle School Teachers 6.82%
Spaniard Customer Service Representatives 2.75%
Spanish Retail Salespersons 2.62%
Spanish American Cashiers 3.89%
Sri Lankan Postsecondary Teachers 7.11%
St Lucia Islander Social Workers 7.79%
Sudanese Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs 6.63%
Swedish Elementary And Middle School Teachers 3.52%
Swiss Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.70%
Syrian First-Line Supervisors Of Retail Sales Workers 5.32%
Taiwanese Software Developers, Applications And Systems Software 4.65%
Texas Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 6.25%
Thai Waiters And Waitresses 8.88%
Tibetan Maids And Housekeeping Cleaners 7.86%
Tongan Stock Clerks And Order Fillers 6.12%
Trinidadian Tobagonian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 7.00%
Turkestani Postsecondary Teachers 8.34%
Turkish Postsecondary Teachers 5.69%
Ugandan Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 19.61%
Ukrainian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.97%
Uncodable entries Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.16%
United States Secretaries And Administrative Assistants 3.04%
Uruguayan Driver/Sales Workers And Truck Drivers 8.57%
Uzbeg Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 12.11%
Venezuelan Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.44%
Vietnamese Miscellaneous Personal Appearance Workers 16.17%
Vincent-Grenadine Islander Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 11.10%
Welsh Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 3.67%
West Indian Nursing, Psychiatric, And Home Health Aides 6.42%
Western African Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.97%
Western European Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.69%
White Cashiers 2.80%
Yemeni Cashiers 20.04%
Yugoslavian Miscellaneous Managers, Including Funeral Service Managers And Postmasters And Mail Superintendents 4.83%