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Emigration to the United States

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EMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES The population of the United States in 1790 was 4 millions. In 1926 it was estimated at 1o5,000,000 (excluding the coloured pop ulation). The immigration from Europe into America during the past century, which has been mainly responsible for this growth, has been, both in its volume and its variety, the most remarkable peaceful mass movement of population in history.

The number of immigrants who entered America previous to the year 182o is not accurately known, but it is supposed to have averaged from 5,00o to 6,000 a year and the total number of immi grants from the time of the foundation of the National Govern ment down to 182o was probably not more than 250,00o. The total number of immigrants from 182o to 1927 was 37,000,000, of whom 32,000,000 came direct from Europe.

In 182o the number of arrivals was 8,385 and by 183o it had reached over 20,00o. During the decade 1830-40 some 6o,000 immigrants annually were admitted, while from 1§4o-46 the average number was about 90,000. Down to 1846, the first 70 years in America's national life, the total number of immigrants was less than 1,600,000, whereas in that period the population of the United States grew from 3,000,00o to 21,000,000.

In 1847 the great tide of immigration began with an enormous influx from Ireland, following upon the potato famine, and two years later political troubles led to heavy immigration from Ger many. From 1847 to 1854 immigration ranged between 250,000 and 400,000 per annum.

During the ten years 1847-56 approximately 3,000,00o immi grants entered America—twice the total number that had ar rived during the previous seventy years. Immigration slackened during the Civil War period, but increased again thereafter, until by the year 1890 the total number of immigrants admitted to the United States had reached a figure of over 15,5oo,000.

The financial crisis of 1893 temporarily checked immigration, but the upward trend was resumed, and during the twenty-four years 1891-1914 the total number of immigrants was 16,5oo,000.

In each of the six years 1905-07, 1910 and 1913-14 the number exceeded a million. The greatest number of immigrants arriving in any one year was 1,285,00c in 1907.

These figures include numbers of people who did not remain permanently in the United States, but the following table shows the population of the United States at each census, the decennial increase, and the average net immigration (i.e., excess of arrivals over departures) during the period 179o-1925:— United States Population at Each Census, Decennial Increase, and Net Immigration: 1790-1925 A very important change took place during the period from 188o to 1910 in the racial composition of the immigrants. Up to 188o the peoples of northern and western Europe had predominated, but after 188o the bulk of the immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe. In each of the two decades 1871-80 and 1901-10 the total immigrants from western Europe numbered approximately 2,000,000, whereas the total from southern and eastern Europe increased from 200,000 in the first of these two periods to over 6,000,000 (70•8% of the total) in the second. In the five years 1911-15 out of a total immigration from Europe of 3,796,00o, the number from southern and eastern Europe was over 3,000,000 or 79% of the total.

Up to 1917 this enormous volume of immigration was admitted without restrictions upon the white races other than (a) the exclusion under the Immigration Act of 1882 and subsequent legislation of certain undesirable classes, e.g., criminals, paupers and physical and mental defectives, etc. (b) those imposed by the Alien Contract Labour Law of 1885 forbidding the entry of any person under a contract made previously 'to perform labour or service of any kind in the United States.' The proportion of arrivals excluded under the provisions of the various Immigration Laws was negligible, the total number debarred in 1913 being 20,000 or 1.4% of the total applicants for admission.

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