Who are day laborers?

The Day Laborer Workforce at a Glance:

According to a U.S. study on Day Labor in 2006:

  • Approximately 117,600 workers are either looking for day-labor jobs or working as day laborers on any given day.
  • The vast majority (79%) of hiring sites are informal and include workers standing in front of businesses (24%), home improvement stores (22%), gas stations (10%) and on busy streets (8%).
  • 1 out of every 5 day laborers (21%) search for work at day-labor worker centers.

Day laborers are not solely temporary workers.

  • The vast majority (83%) relies on day-labor work as their sole source of income. 70% search for work five or more days a week, while 9% seek work only one or two days a week.

Many day laborers support themselves and their family through this work.

  • The need for day laborers to earn an income, in most cases, is made all the more urgent by the responsibility to support their family.
  • A significant number of day laborers are either married (36 percent) or living with a partner (7 percent), and almost two-thirds (63 percent) have children.

Day laborers are active members of their communities.

  • Half (52%) of all day laborers attend church regularly, one-fifth (22%) are involved in sports clubs and one-quarter (26%) participate in community worker centers.

The day-labor workforce in the United States is predominantly immigrant and Latino.

  • Most day laborers were born in Mexico (59%) and Central America (28%), but the third-largest group (7%) was born in the United States.
  • Two-fifths (40%) of day laborers have lived in the United States for more than 6 years.