Race and Occupation

About 22 percent of physicians in the United States are Asian, but Asian people only make up about 6 percent of the total working population. Compare the former to the latter, and you could say that Asian people are about 3.5 times more likely to be physicians.

Are there other jobs that jump out? What’s it like for other races and ethnicity?

Most Likely Jobs, by Race/Ethnicity

Circle size represents total workers, relative to selected race/ethnicity.


This is a follow-up to the (slightly too long) bar chart that showed occupations simply by percentage of race and ethnicity. This didn’t account for race percentages overall.

For example, about 67% of registered nurses are white, which might seem high, but 61% of the work force is white, so the nurse percentage shouldn’t be that surprising. Compared to other races, white workers don’t tend as strongly towards any particular job, which is why the distribution above for white workers clusters around the middle.

On the other hand, the distribution for Asian workers is the most spread out with a strong pull towards engineering and healthcare jobs. Not counting manicurists, Asians gravitate the most to software developer jobs at over five times more likely. Native Americans tend towards gambling services. Hispanics tend towards agriculture.

This is based on data from the 2022 five-year American Community Survey, downloaded via IPUMS. The races are single-race and non-Hispanic. To estimate likelihood, I used a simplified method that divided the race percentage of a given occupation by the race percentage of the total workforce. It was partially based on the methods used by researchers to study the change of race and occupation over time.

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My work on FlowingData is supported by paid memberships. Since 2007, I have been analyzing data and making charts to help people understand and appreciate data in their work and everyday lives. I hope to keep it going for many more years.

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