America is a nation of immigrants.
Aside from a spat of isolationism that ran through both world wars and peaked around the same time as the Nixon administration, there’s usually been a pretty steady influx of immigrants coming to our country:
But the nations that people have come from have changed quite a bit over time, as this 2015 GIF from Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank illustrates:
That GIF runs a bit fast for me. Let’s walk through it.
There’s a bit of a blip from Canada in Vermont, and California was taking in Mexicans as the dust from the Mexican-American War settled.
But, otherwise, it’s all Ireland and Germany:
As we get into settling the west and building the Transcontinental Railroad, you’ll notice the influx from China has now overtaken Mexico in California.
We’ve also got a new surge in Florida from the Bahamas, and the Canadians have overtaken the Irish in New Hampshire:
By 1870, the Irish and Germans still maintain the highest rates, but the wave from Canada has spread, Mexico has re-joined the conversation, and folks from the UK are making a play in the Midwest:
Then the UK spreads a bit, and China has a serious influx.
Cubans also start to make the trek in higher numbers:
By 1900, Ireland and China’s mass influx has all but petered out, but Germany is still running strong, and the UK is still making a play.
Canada continues to spread across the parallel, and the Swedes make their mark on Minnesota.
And Italians leaves one boot for another as they flow into Louisiana:
Now, we’re starting to see how the events that led into the World Wars are making a bit of an impact in the US.
Italy’s influx continues to grow, and we start to see people from Russia as well as Austria.
And, Norway made a play for the Dakotas:
Check out this spread of immigrants from Italy and Russia/USSR in 1920:
By 1930, Germany shows no signs of slowing down, the UK makes another big push, and Italians continues to flock to the US:
Much of the same for the 1940 census:
We get another surge from the USSR post-WWII, and China pops back up in Mississippi:
Still pretty steady with most of the same countries in 1960:
And, it looks like Germany never really stopped sending her people:
But, we can see how, by 1980, Mexico is starting to give Germany a bit of competition:
By 1990, we see some Asian nations make a play, but they still don’t seem to affect the growing influx from Mexico:
That trend continues into the new millennium:
And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down:
Perhaps, after 130 years of running the game, Germany simply ran out of people to give:
Today, most of our immigration comes from one country.
But that’s also been the case for most of our history.
It’s just that for most of the time, that country happened to be Germany:
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