Tuesday, August 28, 2007

immigration then and now

PG covers a story today that shows we have a ways to go before we become an immigrant gateway. It reminds me of a conversation I had recently with someone who was convinced that immigration had picked up so much in the region that the rate of Hispanic immigration now matched that of Eastern European populations here a century ago. well.... I wish it were true honestly, but....

Here are a few pages from the 1910 census. For the city of Pittsburgh, 26% of the population was foreign born at that time. But you can parse a bit to get some interesting numbers. Immigrants tended to be men. Among all white men age 20 and over, over 44% of the Pittsburgh population was foreign born. So compared to today, if you moved the decimal place over you would still be higher than today by a factor of 2. Now you make the evening news if you are from elsewhere and congregate in groups larger than 5.